Skip to main content

Full text of "Shut Your Mouth and Save Your Life"

See other formats

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http : //books . google . com/ 


3 3433 08168056 7 






^^ IN2JAN COlL^:^ I lOrJ 



This book IS 



itances to l>e 

uader no circumf 
in from th« Build 



iiin J tt-i 

MAR 1 17 


M2 V 

,'jri:;2 . 



ttiriB 4i» 








iittt^ m\m. 


^ ^ _ lAll right$ reMTPtd.'] 


May 1913 "^ ^ '' 






« 1912 L 



No person on earth who reads this little work will 
condemn it : it is only a question how many millions may 
look through it and benefit themselves by adopting its 




This communication, being made in the confident belief 
that very many of its Readers may draw from it hints 
of the highest importance to the enjoyment and prolong- 
ation of their lives, requires no other apology for its 
appearance, nor detention cf the Reader from the in- 
formation wnich it is designed to convey. 

With the reading portion of the world it is gjenerally 
known that I have devoted the greater part of my life 
in visiting, and recording the looks of, the various 
native Races of North and South America ; and during 
those researches, observing tne healthy condition and 
physical perfection of those people, in their primitive 
state, as contrasted with the deplorable mortality, the 
numerous diseases and deformities, in civilized commu- 
nities, 1 have been led to search lor, and able, 1 believe, 
to discover, the main causes leading to such different 


During my Ethnographic labours amongst those 
wild people I have visited 150 Tribes, containing more 
than two millions of souls ; and therefore have had, in 
all probability, more extensive opportunities than any 
other man living, of examining their sanitary system ; 
and if from those examinations I have arrived at results 
of importance to the health and existence of mankind, 
I shall have achieved a double object in a devoted and 
toilsome life, and shall enjoy a twofold satisfaction 
in making them known to the world ; and particularly 
to the Medical Faculty^ who may perhaps turn them 
to good account.* 

Man is known to be the most perfectly constructed 
of all the animals, and consequently he can endure 
more : he can out-travel the Horse, the Dog, the Ox, 
or any other animal ; he can fast longer ; his natural 
life is said to be ' threescore and ten years,' while its 
real average lengthy in civilized communities, is but 
half equal to that of the brutes whose natural term is 
not one-third as long ! 

This enormous disproportion might be attributed to 
some natural physical deficiency in the construction of 

• As the information contained in this little work is believed to be of 
equal importance to all classes of society, and of all Nations, the Author 
has endeavoured to render it in the simplest possible form, free from 
ambiguity of expression and professional technicality of language, that all 
may be able alike to appreciate it ; and if the work contains several brief 
repetitions, they are only those which were intended, and such as always 
allowed, and even difficult to be avoided, in conveying important advice. 


Man, were it not that we find him in some phases of 
Savage life, enjojring almost equal exemption from dis- 
ease and premature death, as the Brute creations ; lead- 
ing us to the irresistible conclusion that there is some 
lamentable fault yet overlooked in the sanitary economy 
of civilized life. 

The human Race and the various brute q.mes have 
alike been created for certain respective terms of exist- 
ence, and wisely supplied with the physical means of 
supporting that existence to its intended and natural 
end ; and with the two creations, these powers would 
alike answer, as intended, ibr the whole term of natural 
life, except from some hereditary deficiency, or some 
practised abuse. 

The horse, the dog, che ox, and others of the brute 
creations, we are assured by the breeders of those ani- 
mals, are but little subject to the fatal diseases of the 
lungs and others of the respiratory or digestive organs ; 
nor to diseases of the spine, to Idiocy or Deafness ; and 
their teeth continuing to perform their intended func- 
tions to the close of natural life, not one in a hundred 
of these animals, with proper care and a sufficiency of 
food, would fail to reach that period, unless destroyed 
by intention or accident. 

Mankind are everywhere a departure from this 
sanitary condition, though the Native Races oftentimes 
present a near approach to it, as I have witnessed 


amongst the Tribes of North and South America, 
amongst whom, in their primitive condition^ the above- 
mentioned diseases are seldom heard of; and the almost 
unexceptional regularity, beauty^ and soundness of their 
teeth last them to advanced life and old age. 

In civilized communities, better sheltered, less ex- 
posed, and with the aid of the ablest professional skill, 
the sanitary condition of mankind, with its variety, its 
complication, and fatality of diseases — its aches and 
pains, and mental and physical deformities, presents a 
more lamentable and mournful list, which plainly indi- 
cates the existence of some extraordinary latent cause, 
not as yet sufficiently appreciated, and which it is the 
sole object of this little work to expose. 

From the Bills of Mortality which are annually pro- 
duced in the civilized world, we leam that in London 
and other large towns in England, and cities of the 
Continent, on an average, one half of the human Race 
die before they reach the age of five years, and one half 
of the remainder die before they reach the age of twenty- 
five, thus leaving but one in four to share the chances 
of lasting from the age of twenty-fiv^ to old age. 

Statistical accounts showed, not many years past, 
that in London, one half of the children died under 
three yeax8, in Stockholm, one half died under two 
years, and in Manchester, one half died under five 
years ; but owing to recent improved sanitary regula- 


tions, the numbers of premature deaths in those cities 
are much diminished, leaving the average proportions 
as first given, no doubt, very near the truth, at the pre- 
sent time; and still a lamentable statement for the 
contemplation of the world, by v^hich is seen the fright- 
ful gauntlet that civilized man runs in his passage 
through life. 

The sanitary condition of the Savage Kaces of 
North and South America, a few instances of which I 
shall give, not by quoting a variety of authors, but from 
estimates carefully made by myself, whilst travelling 
among those people, will be found to present a striking 
contrast to those just mentioned, and so widely different 
as naturally, and very justly, to raise the inquiry into 
the causes leading to such dissimilar results, 

Several very respectable and credible modern 
writers have undertaken to show, from a host of authors, 
that premature mortality is greater amongst the Savage, 
than amongst the Civilized Races; which is by no 
means true, excepting amongst those communities of 
savages who have been corrupted, and their simple and 
temperate modes of life changed, by the dissipations and 
vices introduced among them by civilized people. 

In order to draw a fair contrast between the results 
of habits amongst the two Races, it is necessary to con- 
template the two people living in the uninvaded habits 
peculiar to each ; and it would be well also, for the 


writer who draws those contrasts, to see with his own 
eyes the customs of the Native Races, and obtain his 
information from the lips of the people themselves, in- 
stead /)f trusting to a long succession of authorities, 
each of which has quoted from his predecessor, when 
the original one has been unworthy of credit, or has 
gained his information from unreliable, or ignorant, or 
malicious sources. 

There is, perhaps, no other subject upon which his- 
torians and other writers are more liable to lead the 
world into erroneous conclusions than that of the true 
native customs and character of Aboriginal Races; and 
that from the universal dread and fear which have 
generally deterred historians and other men of Science 
from penetrating the solitudes inhabited by these 
people, in the practice of their primitive modes. 

There always exists a broad and moving barrier 
between savage and civilized communities, where the 
first shaking of hands and acquaintance take place, and 
over which the demoralizing and deadly effects of dissi- 
pation are taught and practised ; and from which, un- 
fortunately, both for the character of the barbarous 
races and the benefit of Science, the customs and the 
personal appearance of the savage are gathered and 
portrayed to the world. 

It has been too much upon this field that historians 
and other writers have drawn for the exaggerated 


accounts which have been published, of the excessive 
mortality amongst the Savage Races of America, lead* 
ing the world to believe that the actual premature waste 
of life caused by the dissipations and vices introduced, 
with the accompanying changes in the modes of living 
in such districts, were the proper statistics of those 

I have visited these semi-civilized degradations of 
Savage life in every degree of latitude in North America^ 
and to a great extent also in Central and South America^ 
and as far as this system extends, I agree with those 
writers who have contended in general terms, that pre- 
mature mortality is proportionally greater amongst the 
Native Races than in Civilized communities ; but as I 
have also extended my visits and my inquiries into the 
tribes in the same latitudes, living in their primitive 
state, and practising their native modes, I offer myself 
as a living witness, that whilst in that condition, the 
Native Races in North and South America are a 
healthier people, and less subject to premature mortality 
(save from the accidents of War and the Chase, and 
also from Small-pox and other pestilential diseases in- 
troduced amongst them), than any Civilized Race in 

Amongst a people who preserve no Records and 
gather no Statistics, it has been impossible to obtain 
exact accounts of their annual deaths, or strict propor- 


tionate estimates of deaths before and between certain 
ages; but from verbal estimates given me by the 
Chiefs and Medical Men in the various tribes, and 
whose statements may in general be relied on as very 
near the tnith, there is no doubt but I have been able 
to obtain information on these points which may safely 
be relied on as a just average of the premature mor- 
tality in many of those Tribes, and which we have a 
right to believe Avould be found to be much the same 
in most of the others. 

As to the melancholy proportions of deaths of 
children in civilized communities already given, there 
is certainly no parallel to it to be found amongst the 
North or South American Trioes, where they are living 
according to their primitive modes ; nor do I believe 
that a similar mortality can be found amongst the 
children of any aboriginal race on any part of the 

Amongst the North American Indians, at all events, 
where two or three children are generally the utmost 
results of a marriage, such a rate of mortality could not 
exist withcfut soon depopulating the country • and as a 
justification of the general remark I have made, the few 
following instances of the numerous estimates which I 
received and recorded amongst the various tribes, I 
offer in the belief that they will be received as matters 
for astonishment, calling for some explanation of the 


causes of so wide a contrast between the Bills of Mor- 
tality in the two Races. 

Whilst residing in a small village of Guarani of 
250 persons, on the banks of the Rio Trombutas, in 
Brazil; amongst the questions which I put to the 
Chief, I desired to know, as near as possible, the num- 
ber of children under 10 years of age, which his village 
had lost within the last 10 years, a space of time over 
which his recollection could reach with tolerable ac- 
curacy. After he and his wife had talked the thing 
over for some time, they together made the following 
reply, viz. — that * they could recollect but three deaths 
of children within that space of time : one of these was 
drowned, a second one was killed by the kick of a horse, 
and the third one was bitten by a Rattle-snake.* 

This small Tribe, or Band, living near the base of 
the Acarai Mountains, resembled very much in their 
personal appearance and modes of life the numerous 
bands around them ; all mounted on good horses ; liv- 
ing in a country of great profusion, both of animal and 
vegetable food. 

"rtie ' Sleepy Eyes,' a celebrated chief of a Band of 
Sioux, in North America, living between the head- 
water^ of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, in reply 
\6 similar questions, also told me that in his Band of 
1500, he could not learn from the women that they had 


lost any of their children in that time except some two 
or three who nad died from Occidents. He told me that 
the women of his Tribe had no instances of stiil-bom 
children ; and they seemed not even to know the mean- 
ing of ' Abortions/ 

I asked nim if any of their children were ever 
known to die from tne pains of cutting their teeth, to 
which he repliea, that they always seemed to suffer 
more or less at that period ; but that he did not believe 
that in the whole S^'onx Tribe a child ever died from 
that cause. 

This Tribe I found living in their primitive con- 

Amongst the Tribo of Alanilnus. on the upper Mis- 
souri, a Tribe of 2000, and living entirely in their 
primitive state, I learned from the Chiefs, that the death 
of a child under the age of 10 years was a very unusual 
occurrence; and from an examination of the dead 
bodies in their Cemetery, at the back of their village, 
which wero rsiveloDcd in skins, and resting separately 
on little scaflFolds of poles erected on the prairies, 
amongst some 150 of such, I could discover but the 
embalmments of eleven children, which strongly cor- 
roborated in my mind the statements made to me by 
the Chiefs, as to the unfrequency of the deaths of chil- 



dren under the age above-mentioned; and which I 
found still further, if not more strongly, corroborated 
in the collection of human Skulls preserved and lying 
on the ground underneath the scaflFolds. 

By the custom peculiar to this tribe, when the scaf- 
folds decay, on which the bodies rest, and fall to the 
ground, the skulls, which are bleached, are carefully 
and superstitiously preserved in several large circles on 

the ground; and amongst several hundreds of these 
skulls, I was forcibly struck with the almost incredibly 
small proportion of crania of children ; and even more 
so, in the almost unexceptional completeness and sound- 
ness (and total absence of malformation) of their beauti- 
ful sets of teeth, of all ages, which are scrupulously kept 


together, by tne lower jaws being attached to the other 
bones of the head.* 

In this Tribe of 2000, I learned also from the 
Chiefs, that th^re was not an instance of Idiocy or 
Lunacy — of Crooked Spine (or hunch-back), of Deaf 
and Dumb, or of other deformity of a disabling kind. 

The instances which I have thus far stated, as rather 
extraordinary cases of the healthfalness of their chil- 
dren, in the above Tribes, are nevertheless not far dif- 
ferent from many others which I have recorded in the 
numerous Tribes which I have visited ; and the appar- 
ently singular exemption of the Mandans, which I have 
mentioned, from mental and physical deformities, is by . 
no means peculiar to that Tribe ; but, almost without 
exception, is applicable to all the Tribes of the American 
Continent, where they are living in their primitive con- 
dition, and according to their original modes. 

This Tribe subsists chiefly on Buffalo meat, and 
maize or Indian corn, which they raise to a consider- 
able extent. 

Amongst two millions of these wild people whom I 
have visited, I never saw or heard of a Hunch-hack 

* A short time after I had described to the World the beautiful form- 
ation and polish of the teeth in these skulls, thG forceps came, and (like 
the most of those left in the Indian graves on the frontiers), the mo»t 
beautiful of them, which had chewed Buffalo meat for 25 years or a half 
century, are now chewing Bread and Butter in various parts of the 


(crooked spine), (hough my inquiries were made in every 
Tribe ; nor did I ever see an Idiot or Lunatic amongst 
them, though I heard of some three or four, during my 
travels, and perhaps of as many Deaf and Dumb.* 

^ Shar-re-iar-rushe, an aged and venerable Chief of 
the Pawnee-Picts, a powerful Tribe living on the head- 
waters of the Arkansas River, at the base of the Rocky 
Mountains, told me in answer to questions, ' we very 
seldom lose a small child — none of our women have 
ever died in childbirth — they have no medical attend- 
ance on these occasions — we have no Idiots or Lunatics 
— ^nor any Deaf and Dumb, or Hunch-backs, and our 
children never die in teething/ 

This Tribe I found living entirely in their primitive 
state ; their food, BuflFalo flesh and Maize, or Indian 

Ski'Se-rO'Tca^ Chief of the Kiowas, a small Tribe, on 

• Some writers upon whom the world have relied for a correct account 
of the customs of the American Indians, have assigned as the cause of 
the almost entire absence of mental and physical deformities amongst 
these people, that they are in 1 he habit of putting to death all who are thus 
afflicted; but such is not only an unfounded and unjust, but disgraceful 
assumption on the part of those by whom the opinions of the world have 
been led ; for, on the contrary, in every one of the very few cases of the 
kind, which I have met or could hear of, amongst two millions of these 
people, these unfortunate creatures were not only supplied and protected 
with extraordinary care and sympathy, but were in all cases guarded with . 
a superstitious care, as the probable receptacles of sOme important mystery, 
designed by the Great Spirit, for the undoubted benefit of the families or 
Tribes to which they belonged. 


the head-waters of the Red River, in Western Texas, 
replied to me, * My wife and I have lost two of our 
small children, and perhaps ten or twelve have died in 
the Tribe in the last ten years — we have lost none of our 
children by teething — ^we have no Idiots, no Deaf and 
Dumb, nor Hunch-backs/ 

This Tribe I found living in their primitive con- 
dition, their food Buffalo flesh and Venison. 

Cler-mont, Chief of the Osages, replied to my ques- 
tions, * Before my people began to use " fire-water'' it 
was a very unusual thing for any of our women to lose 
their children ; but I am sorry to say that we lose a 
great many of them now ; we have no Fools (Idiots), 
no Deaf and Dumb, and no Hunch-backs — our women 
never die in childbirth nor have dead children.' 

Naw'icaw, Chief of the Winnebagoes, in Wisconsin, 
the remnant of a numerous and warlike Tribe, now 
semi-civilized and reduced, — ' Our children are not now 
near so healthy as they were when I was a young man ; 
it was then a very rare thing for a woman to lose her 
child ; now it is a very diflScult thing to raise them : ' — 
to which his wife added — ' Since our husbands have 
taken to drink so much whiskey our babies are not so 
strong, and the greater portion of them die ; we cannot 
keep them alive.' The Chief continued, * We have no 
Idiots, no Deaf and Dumb, and no Hunch-backs; our 


women never die in childbirth, and they do not allow 
Doctors to attend them on such occasions/ 

Food of this Tribe, fish, venison, and vegetables. 

Kee-mon-saw, Chief of the KasJcaskias^ on the Mis- 
souri, once a powerful and warlike Tribe, told me that 
he could recollect when the children of his Tribe w^ere 
very numerous and very healthy, and they had then no 
Idiots, no Deaf and Dumb, no Hunch-backs ; but that 
the small-pox and whiskey had killed off the men and 
women, and the children died very fast. ' My mother,' 
said he, ^ who is very old; and my little son and myself, 
all of whom are now before you, are all that are left in 
my Tribe, and I am the Chief ! ' 

The above, which are but a very few of the numer- 
ous estimates which I have gathered, when compared 
with the statistics of premature deaths and mental 
and physical deformities in civilized communities, form 
a contrast so striking between the sanitary conditions 
of the two Races, who are born the same, and whose 
tenns of natural life are intended to be equal, as plainly 
to show, that through the vale of their existence, in 
civilized Races, there must be some hidden cause* of 
disease not yet sufficiently appreciated, and which the 
Materia Medica has not effectually reached. 

Under this conviction 1 have been stimulated to 
search amongst the Savage Races for the causes of their 


exemption from, and amongst the civilized commimities 
for the causes of their subjection to, so great a calamity; 
and this I believe I have discovered, commenciilg in the 
cradle, and iaccorapanying civilized mankind through 
the painful gauntlet of life to the grave: and in possess- 
ion of this information, when I look into the habits of 
such communities, and see the operations of this cause, 
and its lamentable eflFects, I am not in the least aston- . 
ifihed at the frightful results which the lists of mortality 
show ; but it is matter of surprise to me that they are 
not even more lamentable, and that Nature can success- 
fully battle so long as she does, against the abuses with 
which she often has to contend. 

This cause I believe to be the simple neglect to 
secure the vital and intended advantages to be derivjed 
from quiet and natural sleep ; the great physician and 
restorer of mankind, both Savage and Civil, as well as 
of the Brute creations. 

Man's cares and fatigues of the day become a daily 
disease, for which quiet sleep is the cure ; and the All- 
wise Creator has so constructed him that his breathing 
Jungs support him through that sleep, like a perfect 
machine, regulating the digestion of the stomacli and 
the circulation of the blood, and carrying repose and 
rest to the utmost extremity of every limb ; and for the 
protection and healthy working of this machine through 
the hours of repose. He has formed him with nostrils 


intended for measuring and tempering the air that feeds 
this moving principle and fountain of life ; and in pro- 
portion as the quieting and restoring influence of the 
lungs in natural repose, is carried to every limb and 
every organ, so in unnatural and abused repose, do they 
send their complaints to the extremities of the system, 
in various diseases ; and under continued abuse, fall to 
pieces themselves, carrying inevitable destruction of the 
fabric with them in their decay. 

The two great and primary phases in life, and mu- 
tually dependent on each other, are waking and sleep- 
ing ; and the abuse of either is sure to interfere with 
the other. For the first of these there needs a lifetime 
of teaching and practice ; but for the enjoyment of the 
latter, man needs no teaching, provided the regulations 
of the All-wise Maker and Teacher can have their way, 
and are not contravened by pernicious habits or erro- 
neous teaching. 

If man's unconscious existence for nearly one-third 
of the hours of his breathing bfe depends, from one 
moment to another, upon the air that passes through 
his nostrils ; . and his repose during thosfe hours, and his 
bodily health and enjoyment between them, depend 
upon the soothed and tenipered character of the currents 
that are passed through his nose to his lungs, how 
mysteriously intricate in its construction and important 
in its functions is that feature, iand how disastrous may 


be the omission id education which sanctions a de- 
parture from the full and natural use of this wise ar- 
rangement ! 

When I have seen a poor Indian woman in the 
wilderness, lowering her infant from the breast, and 
pressing its lips together as it falls asleep in its cradle 
in the open air, and afterwards looked into the Indian 
multitude for the results of such a practice, I have said 
to myself, * glorious education ! such a Mother deserves 
to be the nurse of Emperors/ And when I have seen 
the careful^, tender mothers in civilized life, covering the 
faces of their infants sleeping in overheated rooms, with 
their little mouths open and gasping for breath ; and 
afterwards looked into the multitude, I have been struck 
with the evident evil and lasting results of this incipient 
stage of education ; and have been more forcibly struck 
and shocked, when I have looked into the Bills of Mor- 
tality, which I believe to be so frightfully swelled by the 
results of this habit, thus contracted, and practised in 
contravention to Nature's design. 

There is no animal in nature, excepting Man, that 
sleeps with the mouth open ; and with mankind, I be- 
lieve the habit, which is not natural, is generally confined 
to civilized communities, where he is nurtured and 
raised amidst enervating luxuries and unnatural warmth, 
where the habit is easily contracted, but carried and 
practised with great danger to life in different latitudes 


and diflFerent climates ; and, in sudden changes of tem- 
perature, even in his own house. 

The physical conformation of man alone affords 
sufficient proof that this is a habit against instinct, and 
that he was made, like the other animals, to sleep with 
his mouth shut — suppljfing the lungs with vital air 
through the nostrils, the natural channels ; and a strong 
corroboration of this fact is to be met with amongst the 
North American Indians, who strictly adhere to Nature's 
law in this respect, and show the beneficial results in 
their fine and manly forms, and exemption from mental 
and physical diseases, as has been stated. 

The Savage infant, Kke the oflFspring of the brute, 
breathing the natural and wholesome air, generally from 
instinct, closes its mouth during its sleep ; and in all 
cases of exception the mother rigidly (and cruelly, it 
necessary) enforces Nature's Law in the manner ex- 
plained, until the habit is fixed for Ufe, of the import- 
ance of which she seems to be perfectly well aware. 
But when we turn to civilized life, with all its comforts, 
its luxuries, its science, and its medical skill, our pity is 
enlisted for the tender germs of humanity, brought forth 
and caressed in smothered atmospheres which they can 
only breathe with their mouths wide open, and nurtured 
with too much thoughtlessness to prevent their con- 
tracting a habit which is to shorten their days with the 
croup in infancy, or to turn their brains to Idiocy or 


Lunacy, and their spines to curvatures— or in manhood, 
their sleep to fatigue and the nightmare, and their lungs 
and their lives to premature decay.* 

If the habit of sleeping with the mouth open is so 
destructive to the human constitution, and is caused by 
sleeping in confined and overheated air, and this under 
the imprudent sanction of mothers, they become the 
primary causes of the misery of their own oflFspring ; 
and to them, chiefly, the world must look for the cor- 
rection of the error, and, consequently, the benefaction 
of mankind. They should first be made acquainted 
with the fact that their infants don't require heated air, 
and that they had better sleep with their heads out of 
the window than under their mother's arms — that mid- 
dle-aged and old people require more warmth than 
children, and that to embrace their infants in their arms 
in their sleep during the night, is to subject them to the 
heat of their own bodies ; added to that of feather-beds 

* The weekly Bills of Mortality in London show an amount of 10, 
15, and sometimes 20 deaths of infants per week, from suffocation, in bed 
with their parents ; and Mr Wakley, in May, 1860, in an inquest on an 
infant, stated that * he had held inquests over more than 100 Infants 
which had died during the past winter, from the same cause, their parents 
covering them entirely over, compelling them to breathe their own breath.' 

The Registrar-General shows an average of over 700,000 infants bom 
in England per annum, and over 100,000, which die under one year of 
age — 12,738 of these of Bronchitis, 3660 from the pains of teething, and 
19,000 of convulsions, and says, 'suffocation in bed, by overlaying or 
shutting cff the air from the child, is the most frequent cause of violent 
deaths of children in England.' 


and overheated rooms, the relaxing eflFects of which have 
been mentioned, with their pitiable and fatal conse- 

There are many, of course, in all ranks and grades 
of society, who escape from contracting this early and 
dangerous habit, and others who commence it in child- 
hood, or in manhood, a very few of whom live and 
siiflFer under it to old age, with constitutions sufficiently 
strong to support Nature in her desperate and con- 
tinuous struggle against abuse. 

When we observe amongst very aged persons that 
they almost uniformly close the mouth firmly, we are 
regarding the results of a long-practised and healthy 
habit, and the surviving few who have thereby escaped 
the fatal consequences of the evil practice I am con- 

Though the majority of civilized people are more or 
less addicted to the habit I am speaking of, compara- 
tively few will admit that they are subject to it. They 
go to sleep and awake, with their mouths shut, not 
knowing that the insidious enemy, like the deadly 
Vampire that imperceptibly sucks the blood, gently 
steals upon them in their sleep and does its work of 
death whilst they are unconscious of the evil. 

Few people can be convinced that they snore in 
their sleep, for the snoring is stopped when they awake ; 
and so with breathing through the mouth, which is 


generally the cause of snoring' — the moment that con- 
sciousness arrives the mouth is closed, and Nature 
resumes her usual course. 

In natural and refreshing sleep, man breathes but 
little air ; his pulse is low ; and in the most perfect 
state of repose he almost ceases to exist. This is 
necessary, and most wisely ordered, that his lungs, as 
well as his limbs, may rest from the labour and excite- 
ments of the day. 

Too much sleep is often said to be destructive to 
health ; but very few persons will sleep too much for 
their health, provided they sleep in the right way. Un- 
natural sleep, which is irritating to the lungs and the 
nervous system, fails to afford that rest which sleep was * 
intended to give, and the longer one lies in it, the less 
will be the enjoyment and length of his life. Any one 
waking in the morning at his usual hour of rising, and 
finding by the dryness of his mouth, that he has been 
sleeping with the mouth open, feels fatigued, and a 
wish to go to sleep again ; and, convinced that his rest 
has not been good, he is ready to admit the truth of thei 
statement above made. 

There is no perfect sleep for man or brute, with the 
mouth open ; it is unnatural, and a strain upon the 
lungs which the expression of the countenance and the 
nervous excitement plainly show. 

Lambs, which are nearly as tender as human infants, 


commence immediately after they are born to breathe 
the chilling air of March and April, both night and day, 
asleep and awake, which they are able to do, because 
they breathe it in the way that Nature designed them 
to breathe. New-born infants in the Savage Tribes are 
exposed to nearly the same necessity, which they endure 
perfectly well, and there is no reason why the opposite 
extreme should be practised in the civilized world, en- 
tailing so much misfortune and misery on mankind. 

It is a pity that, at the very starting-point oi life, 
Man should be started wrong — that mothers should be 
under the erroneous belief that while their infants are 
awake they must be watched; but asleep, they are 
' doing well enough/ 

Education is twofold, mental and physical; the 
latter of which alone, at this early stage, can be com- 
menced ; and the mother should know that sleep, which 
is the great renovater and regulator of health, and in 
fact the food of life, should be enjoyed in the manner 
which Nature has designed ; and therefore that her 
closest scrutiny and watchfulness, like that of the poor 
Indian woman, should guard her infant in those import- 
ant hours, when the shooting germs of constitution are 
starting, on which are to depend the happiness or misery 
of her offspring. 

It requires no more than common sense to perceive 
that Mankind, like all the Brute creations, should close 



their mouths when they close their eyes in sleep, and 
breathe through their nostrils, which were evidently 
made for that purpose, instead of dropping the under 
jaw and drawing an over-draught of cold air directly on 
the lungs, through the mouth ; and that in the middle 
of the night, when the fires have gone down and the air 
is at its coldest temperature — the system at rest, and 
the lungs the least able to withstand the shock. 

For those who have suffered with weakness of the 
lungs or other diseases of the chest, there needs no proof 
of this fact ; and of those, if any, who are yet incredul- 
ous, it only requires that they should take a candle in 
their hand and look at their friends asleep and snoring ; 
or with the Nightmare (or without it), with their eyes 

shut and their mouths wide open — the very pictures of 
distress— -of suffering, of Idiocy, and Death ; when Na- 



ture designed that they should be smiling in the sooth- 
ing and invigorating forgetfulness of the fatigues and 
anxieties of the day, which are dissolving into pleasur- 
able and dreamy shadows of * realities gone by.' 

Who ever waked out of a fit of the Nightmare in the 
middle of the night with his mouth strained open and 
dried to a husk, not knowing when, or from where, the 
saliva was coming to moisten it again, without being 
willing to admit the mischief that such a habit might 
be doing to the lungs, and consequently to the stomach, 
the brain, the nerves, and every other organ of the 
system ? 

Who, like myself, has suffered from boyhood to 
middle age, everything but death from this enervating 
end unnatural habit, and then, bv a determined and 


uncompromising effort, has thrown it off, and gained, as 
it were,~a new lease of life and the enjoyment of /est — 
which have lasted him to an advanced age through all 
exposures and privations, without admitting the mis- 
chief of its consequences ? 

Nothing is more certain than that for the preserv- 
ation of human health and life, that most mysterious 
and incomprehensible, self-acting principle of life which 
supports us through the restoring and unconscious vale 
of sleep, should be protected and aided in every way 
which Nature has prepared for the purpose, and not 
abused and deranged by forcing the means of its sup 
port through a different channel. 

We are told that * the breath of life was breathed 
into man's nostrils ' — then why should he not continue 
to live by breathing it in the same manner? * 

♦ A recently invented aid for the lungs, which the usual efforts for 
pecuniary results, and the accustomed and unfortunate rage for novelties, 
have been pushing into extensive use, has been doing great mischief in 
society during the last few years ; and by its injudicious use, I believe 
thousands on thousands have been hurried to the grave. I refer to the 
* Respirators,' so extensively in use, and as generally * in fashion,' amongst 
the Fair Sex. For persons very weak in the lungs, and who have con- 
tracted the habit so strong and so long that they cannot breathe except- 
ing through the open mouth, this appliance may be beneficial, in the open 
air ; but thousands of others, to be eccentric or fashionable, place it over 
^ their mouths when they step into the street ; and to make any use of it, 
must open their mouths and breathe through it, by which indiscretion they 
are thoughtlessly contracting the most dangerous habit which they can 
subject themselves to, and oftentimes catching their death in a few days, 
or in a few hours ; little aware that closed lips are the best protection 
Against cold air, and their nostrils the best and safest of all Eespiial rs. 


'Vhe mouth of man, as well as that of the brutes, 
W8.S made for the reception and mastication offood for 
the stomach, and other purposes ; but the nostrils, with 
their delicate and fibrous linings for purifying and 
warming the air in its passage, have been mysteriously 
constructed, and designed to stand guard over the 
lungs — to measure the air and equalize its draughts, 
during the hours of repose. 

The atmosphere is nowhere pure enough for man's 
breathing until it has passed this mysterious refining 
process ; and therefore the imprudence and danger of 
admitting it an unnatural way, in double quautities, 
upon the lungs, and charged with the surrounding 
epidemic or contagious infections of the moment. 

The impurities of the air which are. arrested by the 
intricate organizations and mucus in the nose are thrown 
out again from its interior barriers by the returning 
breath ; and the tingling excitements of the few which 
pass them, cause the muscular invohtions of sneezing, 
by which they are violently and successfully resisted. 

The air which enters the lungs is as difierent from 
that which enters the nostrils as distilled water is dif- 
ferent from the water in an ordinary cistern or a frog- 
pond. The arresting and purifying process of the nose 
upon the atmosphere, with its poisonous ingredients, 
passing through it, though less perceptible, is not less 
distinct, nor less important, tnan that of the mouth 


which stops cherry-stones and fish-bones from entering 
the stomach. 

This intricate organization in the structure of man, 
unaccountable as it is, seems in a measure divested of 
mystery, when we find the same phenomena (and others 
perhaps even more surprising) in the physical conform- 
ation of the lower order of animals; and we are again 
more astonished when we see the mysterious sensitive- 
ness of that organ instinctively and instantaneously 
separating the gases, as well as arresting and rejecting 
the material impurities of the atmosphere. 

This unaccountable phenomenon is seen in many 
cases. We see the fish, surrounded with water, breath- 
ing the air upon which it exists. It is' a known fact 
that man can- inhale through his nose, for a certain 
time, mephitic air^m the bottom of a well, without harm; 
but if he opens his mouth to answer a question, or calls • 
for help, in that position, his lungs are closed and he 
expires. Most animals are able to inhale the same for 
a considerable time without destruction of life, and, no 
doubt, solely from the fact that their respiration is 
■through the nostrils, in which the poisonous effluvia are 

There are many mineral and vegetable poisons also, 
which can be inhaled by the nose without harm, but if 
taken through the mouth destroy life. And so with 
poisonous reptiles, and poisonous animals. The man 


who kills the Rattle-snake, or the Copperhead, and 
stands alone over it, keeps his mouth shut, and receives 
no harm ; but if he has companions with him, with- 
whom he is conversing over the carcases of these rep- 
tiles, he inhales the poisonous effluvia through the 
mouth, and becomes deadly sick, and in some instances 
death ensues. 

Infinitesimal insects also, not visible to the naked 
eye, are inhabiting every drop of water we drink and 
every breath of air we breathe ; and minute particles of 
vegetable substances, as well as of poisonous minerals, 
and even glass and silex, which float imperceptibly in 
the air, are discovered coating the respiratory organs of 
man ; and the class of birds which catch their food in 
the air with open mouths as they fly, receive these 
things in quantities, even in the hollow of their bones, 
where they are carried and lodged by the currents of 
air, and detected by microscopic investigation. 

Against the approach of these things to the lungs 
and to the eye. Nature has prepared the guard by the 
mucous and organic arrangements, calculated to arrest 
their progress. Were it not for the liquid in the eye, 
arresting, neutralizing, and carrying out the particles of 
dust communicated through the atmosphere, Man would 
soon become blind ; and but for the mucus in his nos- 
trils, absorbing and carrying off the poisonous particles 
and effluvia for the protection of the lungs and the 


brain, mental derangement, consumption of the lungs, 
and death would ensue. 

How easy, and how reasonable, it is to suppose 
then, that the inhalation of such things to the lungs 
through the expanded mouth and throat may be a cause 
©f consumption and other fatal diseases attaching to the 
respiratory organs ; and how fair a supposition also, 
that the deaths from the dreadful Epidemics, such as 
cholera, yellow fever, and other pestilences, are caused 
by the inhalation of animalcules in the infected dis- 
tricts ; and that the victims to those diseases are those 
portions of society who inhale the greatest quantities 
of those poisonous insects to the lungs and to the 

In man's waking hours, when his limbs, and muscles, 
and his mind, are all in action, there may be but little 
harm in inhaling through the mouth, if he be in a 
healthy atmosphere ; and at moments of violent action 
and excitement, it may be necessary. But when he lies 
down at night to rest from the fatigues of the day, and 
yields his system and all his energies to the repose of 
sleep ; and his volition and all his powers of resistance 
are giving way to its quieting influence, if he gradually 
opens his mouth to its widest strain, he lets the enemy 
in that chills his lungs — that racks his brain — that 
paralyzes his stomach — that gives him the nightmare — 
brings him Imps and Pairies that dance before him 


during the night ; and during the following day, head- 
ache — toothache: — rheumatism — dyspepsia, and the 

That man knows not the pleasure of sleep ; he rises 
in the morning more fatigued than when he retired to 
rest — takes pills and remedies through the day, and 
renews his disease every night. A guilty conscience is 
even a better guarantee for peaceful rest than such a 
treatment of the lungs during the hours of sleep. De- 
structive irritation of the nervous system and inflam- 
mation of the lungs, with their consequences, are th^ 
immediate results of this unnatural habit ; and its con- 
tinued and more remote eftects, consumption of the 
lungs and death. 

Besides this frequent and most fatal of all diseases^ 
bronchitis, quinsey, croup, asthma, and other diseases 
of the respiratory organs, as well as dyspepsia, gout of 
the stomach, rickets, diarrhoea, diseases of the liver, 
the heart, the spine, and the whole of the nervous sys- 
tem, from the brain to the toes, may chiefly be attri- 
buted to this deadly and unnatural habit; and any 
physician can easily explain the manner in which these 
various parts of the system are thus affected by the 
derangement of the natural functions of the machine 
that gives them life and motion. 

All persons going to sleep should think, not of their 
business, not of their riches or poverty, their pains or 


their pleasures, but, of what are of infinitely gi^eater 
importance to them, their lungs ; their best friends, that 
have kept them alive through the day, and from whose 
quiet and peaceful repose they are to look for happiness 
and strength during the toils of the following day. 
They should first recollect that their natural food is 
fresh air ; and next, that the channels prepared for the 
supply of that food are the nostrils, which are supplied 
with the means of purifying the food for the lungs, as 
the mouth is constructed to select and masticate the 
food for the stomach. The lungs should be put to rest 
as a fond mother lulls her infant to sleep ; they should 
be supplied with vital air, and protected in the natural 
use of it ; and for such care, each successive day would 
repay in increased pleasures and enjoyments. 

The lungs and the stomach are too near neighbours 
not to be mutually afiected by abuses offered to the one 
or the other ; they both have their natural food, and 
the natural and appropriate means prepared by which 
it is to be received. Air is the especial food of the 
lungs, and not of the stomach. He who sleeps with 
his mouth open draws cold air and its impurities into 
the stomach as well as into the lungs ; and various dis- 
eases of the stomach, with indigestion and dyspepsia, 
are the consequences. Bread may almost as well be 
taken into the lungs, as cold air and wind into the 


A very great proportion of human diseases are 
attributed to the stomach, and are there met and 
treated ; yet I believe they have a higher origin, the 
lungs ; upon the healthy and regular action of which 
the digestive, as well as the respiratory and nervous, 
systems depend ; the moving, active principle of Kfe, 
and life itself, are there ; and whatever deranges the - 
natural action at that fountain affects every function of 
the body. 

The stomach performs its indispensable but second* 
ary part whilst the moving motive power is in healthy 
action, and no longer. Man can exist several days 
without food, and but about as many minutes without 
the action of his lungs. Men habitually say ' they don't 
sleep well, because something is wrong in their sto- 
machs,' when the truth may be, that their stomachs are 
wrong because something is wrong in their sleep. 

If this dependent affinity in the human system be 
true, besetting man's life with so many dangers flowing 
from the abuse of his lungs, with the fact that the brute 
creations are exempt from all of these dangers, and the 
Savages in the wilderness nearly so, how important is 
the question which it raises whether the frightful and 
unaccountable Bills of Mortahty amongst the Civilized 
Races of mankind are not greatly augmented, if not 
chiefly caused, by this error of life, beginning, as I have 
said, in the cradle, and becoming by habit, as it were. 


a second nature^ to weary and torment Mankind to 
their graves? 

Man is created, we are told, to live threescore and 
ten years, but how small a proportion of mankind reach 
that age, or half way, or even a quarter of the way to 
it ! We learn from the official Reports before alluded 
to, that in civilized communities, one half or more perish 
in infancy or childhood, and one half of the remainder 
between that and the age of 25, and physicians tell us 
the diseases they die of ; but who tells us of the cameB 
of those diseases ? All effects have their causes — disease 
is the cause of death — and there is a cause for disease. 

When we see the Brute creations exempted from 
premature death, and the Savage Races comparatively 
so, whilst Civilized communities show such lamentable 
Bills of Mortality, it is but a rational deduction that 
that fatality is the result of habits not practised by 
Savages and the Brute creations ; and what other cha- 
racteristic differences in the habits of the three creations 
strike us as so distinctly different, and so proportioned 
to the results, as already shown ; the fir^t, with the 
mouth always shut ; the second, with it shut during the 
night and most of the day ; and the ihird, with it open 
most of the day and all of the night ? The fivBt of 
these are free from disease ; the second, comparatively 
so; and the third show the lamentable results in the 
Bills of Mortality already given. 


How forcible and natural is the deduction from 
these facts, that here may be the great and principal 
cause of such widely different results, strengthened by 
the other facts, that the greater part of the fatal diseases 
of the body as well as diseases of the mind, before 
mentioned, are such as could and would flow from 
such an unnatural abuse of the lungs, the fountain and 
mainspring of life; and how important, also, is the 
question raised by these facts, how far such an un- 
natural habit exposes the human race to the dangers 
from Epidemic diseases. The Brute creations are 
everywhere free from cholera and yellow fever, and I 
am a living witness that the Asiatic cholera of 1831, 
was everywhere arrested on the United States frontier, 
when in its progress it reached the Savage tribes Uving 
in their primitive condition ; having been a traveller on 
those frontiers during its ravages in those regions. 

Epidemic diseases are undoubtedly communicated 
through the medium of the atmosphere, in poisonous 
animalcules or infectious agents ; and what conclusion 
can be more rational, than that he who sleeps with his 
mouth open during the night, drawing an increased 
quantity of infected atmosphere directly on the lungs 
and into the stomach, will increase his chances of con- 
tracting the disease ? And how interesting to Science, 
and how infinitely important to the welfare of the 
Human Race, might yet be the inquiry ^ whether the 


thousands and millions of victims to cholera and yellow 
fever, were not those very portions of society who were 
in the habit of sleeping with their months open, in the 
districts infected with those awful scourges ! * 

It is a well-known fact that fishes will die in a few 
moments, in their own element, with their mouths kept 
open by the hook ; and I strongly doubt whether a 
horse or an ox would live any length of time, with its 
mouth fastened open with a block of wood, during the 
accustomed hours of its repose ; and I believe that the 
derangement of the system by such an experiment 
would be similar to that in the human frame, and that 
death would be sooner and more certain ; and I believe 
also, that if the American Eaces of Savages which I 

* My opinions on this important subject having been formed many 
years ago, as seen in the foregoing pages, I have had opportunities of 
making observations of an interesting nature, in my recent travels ; and 
amongst those opportunities, one of the most impressive, whilst I was 
making the voyage on one of the Mail Steamers from Montevideo to Per- 
nambuco, on the coast of Brazil, in the summer of 1857, during which 
melancholy voyage about 30 out of 80 passengers died of the yellow fever, 
and were launched from the deck into the sea, according to the custom. 
Having been twice tried by that disease on former occasions, and conse- 
quently feeling little or no alarm for myself, I gave all my time and atten- 
tion to the assistance of those who were afflicted. Aware of the difficulty 
of closing the mouth of a corpse whose mouth has been habitually open 
through life, and observing that nearly every one launched from the vessel 
had the character and expression strongly impressive of the results of that 
habit, I was irresistibly led to a private and secret scanning of faces at the 
table and on deck, and of six or seven persons for whom I had consequent 
apprehensions, I observed their seats were in a day or two vacated, and 
afterwards I recognized their faces, when brought on deck, as subjects for 
the last, sad ceremony. 


have visited, had treated this subject vs^ith the same in- 
difference and abuse, they would long since have lost 
(if not have ceased to exist) that decided advantage 
which they now hold, over the Civilized Races, in manly 
oeauty and symmetry of physical conformation; and 
that their Bills of Mortality would exhibit a much 
nearer approximation to those of Civilized communities 
than they now do.* 

Besides the list of fatal diseases already given, and 
which I attribute chiefly to the pernicious habit which 
I have explained, there are other results affecting the 
senses, personal appearance, and the enjoyments of life, 
which, though not fatal, are themselves of sufficient 
importance to demand its correction ; such as Curva- 
ture of the Spine, Idiocy, Deafness, Nightmare, Polypus 
in the Nose, Malformation and premature Decay of the 
teeth. Toothache, Tic-douloureux, Rheumatism, Gout, 
and many others, to which the Brute creations are 
strangers, and to most of which the Savage Races are 
but- little subject. 

By another reference to the Statistics of Civilized 
Societies, we find that in Bome, one-half per cent, are 
Idiots or Lunatics, one-third per cent, are Deaf and 

* I have before said that the Brute creations are everywhere free from 
cholera, yellow fever, and other epidemics ; yet they are as subject as the 
human species to the effects of other poisons. Who knows, until it is 
tried, how long a horse, an ox, or a dog could exist in one of those infected 
districts, with its mouth fastened open, and its nostrils closed ? 


Dumb, one-half per cent, are Hunch-backs, and from 
three-fourths to one per cent, of other disabling diseases 
and deformities ; all of which are almost unknown to 
the American Native Races; affording a strong corro- 
borative proof, if it were necessary, that such defi- 
ciencies and deformities are the results of accidents or 
habits, and not the works of Nature^s hand. 

Nature produces no diseases, nor deformities ; but 
the offspring of men and women whose systems are im- 
paired by the habits which have been alluded to, are no 
doubt oftentimes ushered into the world with constitu- 
tional weaknesses and predilections for contracting the 
same habits, with their results ; and it is safe to say, 
that three-fourths of the generating portions of every 
civilized community existing, are more or less under 
these disqualifications, which, together with want of 
proper care of their offspring, in infancy and childhood, 
I believe to be the cause of four-fifths of the mental 
and physical deformities, loss of teeth, and premature 
deaths, between conception and infancy, childhood, 
manhood, and old age. 

I have said that no diseases are natural, and de- 
formities, mental and physical, are neither hereditary 
nor natural, but purely the results of accidents or 
habits. A cloven-foot produces no cloveii-feet, hunch- 
backs beget straight spines, and mental deformities can 
have no progeny. 


What a sad bill to bring against the glorious ad-^ 
vantages of Civilized life, its improvemenU, its comforts^ 
and refinements, that in England there are something 
like 35,000 Idiots and Lunatics, 17,000 Deaf and 
Dumb, and 15,000 Hunch-backs, and about an equal 
proportion of these mental and physical deformities in 
the other Civilized nations of the Earth !- 

Nature makes nothing without design ; and who 
dares to say that she has designed these lists of pitiable 
existence amongst the Civilized Races of Man, and that 
the more perfect work of her hand has been bestowed 
upon the Savage (and even the Brute) creations ? And 
next to Nature, our dear Mothers, under whose kind 
care and tender handling we have been raised, could 
subject us to no accident to turn the brain or crook the 
spine ; but easily and thoughtlessly might, even in their 
over anxiety for our health, subject us to early treat- 
ment engendering habits which would gradually and 
imperceptibly produce the whole of these calamities ; 
which J believe have never, as yet, been traced to a 
more probable cause than the habitual abuse of the 
lungs, in the maimer which has been described. 

The teeth of Man, as with the Brutes, are wisely 
constructed to answer their intended purposes through 
the natural term of life, and would so, no doubt, but 
from abuses, the principal one of which I consider to 
be the pernicious habit already explained. The saliva 


exuding from the gums, designed as the element of the 
teeth, floods every part of the mouth while it is shut ; 
continually rising, like a pure fountain, from the gums, 
at the roots of and between the teeth ; loosening and 
carrying off the extraneous matter which would other- 
wise accumulate, communicating disease to the teeth 
and taint to the breath. 

By nature, the teeth and the eyes are strictly am- 
phibious; both immersed in liquids which are prepared 
for their nourishment and protection, and with powers 
of existing in the open air long enough for the various 
purposes for which tbey wiere designed ; but beyond 
that, abuse begins, and they soon turn to decay. It is 
the suppression of saliva, with dryness of the mouth, 
and an unnatural current of cold air across the teeth 
and gums during the hours of sleep, that produces 
malformation of the teeth, toothache, and tic-doulou- 
reux, with premature decay, and loss of teeth, so 
lamentably prevalent in the Civilized world. 

Amongst the Brute creations, that never open their 
mouths except for taking their food and drink, theii 
teeth are protected from the air both day and night, and 
seldom decay; but with Man, who is a talking and 
laughing animal, exposing his teeth to the air a great 
portion of the day, and oftentimes during the whole of 
the night, the results are widely different — he is often- 


times toothless at middle age, and in seven cases in ten, 
in his grave before he is fifty. 

If Civilized man, with his usual derangements and 
absence of teeth, had been compelled to crop the grass, 
like the ox and the horse, as the means of his living, 
and knew not the glorious use of the spooUy to what a 
misery would he have been doomed, and how long could 
he exist ? the loss of a tooth or two with those animals 
would result in their death ; and how wise and how 
provident, therefore, the designs of the Creator, who has 
provided them with the unfailing means of supporting 
their existence, and also the instinctive habits intended 
for the protection of those means. 

Amongst the Native Races they seem to have a 
knowledge of these facts ; and the poor Indian woman 
who watches her infant and presses its lips together as 
it sleeps in its cradle attracts the ridicule perhaps, or 
pity, of the passer-by, but secures the habit in her 
progeny which enables them to command the admir- 
ation and envy of the world. 

These people, who talk little and sleep naturally, 
have no dentists nor dentifrice, nor do they require 
either ; their teeth almost invariably rise from the gums 
and arrange themselves as regular as the keys of a 
piano; and without decay or aches, preserve their 
soundness and enamel, and powers of mastication, to 


old age : and there are no sufficient reasons assigned 
yet, why the same results, or nearly such, may not be 
produced amongst the more enlightened Races, by 
similar means. 

Civilized man may properly be said to be an open- 
mouthed animal; a wild man is not. An Indian 
Warrior sleeps, and hunts, and smiles, with his mouth 
shut ; and with seeming reluctance, opens it even to 
eat or to speak. An Indian child is not allowed to 
sleep with its mouth open, from the very first sleep of 
its existence ; the consequence of which is, that while 
the teeth are forming and making their first appearance, 
they meet (and constantly ^^/) each other; and taking 
their relative, natural positions, form that healthful and 
pleasing regularity which has secured to the American 
Indians, as a Race, perhaps the most manly and beauti- 
ful mouths in the World.* 

* When I speak of comparative personal appearance or of the habits 
of a people, I speak of ihem collectively, and in the a^regate. I often 
see mouths and other physical conformations amongst the Civilized por- 
tions of mankind equally beautiful as can be seen amongst the Savage 
Races, but by no means so often. Symmetry of form, gracefulness of 
movement, and other constituents of manly beauty are much moxt general 
amongst the Savage Kaces ; and their Societies, free from the humbled 
and dependent misery which comparative poverty produces in Civilized 
communities, produce none of those striking contrasts which stare us in 
the face, and excite our disgust and our sympathies, at nearly every step 
we take. The American Savages are all poor, their highest want is that 
of food, which is generally within their reach ; their faces are therefore 
not wrinkled and furrowed with the stamp of care and distress, which ex- 
treme poverty begets, the repulsive marks which avarice engraves, nor 

^ J 


Nature makes no derangements or deformities in 
teeth or mouths ; but habits or accidents produce the 
disagreeable derangements of the one, and consequently 
the disgusting expressions of the other, which are so 
often seen. 

With the Brute creations, where there is less chance 
for habits or accidents to make derangements, we see 
the beautiful system of the regularity of the works of 
Nature's hand, and in their soundness and durability, 
the completeness of her works, which we have no just 
cause to believe has been stinted in the physical con- 
struction of man. 

The contrast between the two Societies, of Savage 
and of Civil, as regards the perfection and duration of 
their teeth, is quite equal to that of their Bills of Mor« 
tality, already shown ; and T contend that, in both 
cases, the principal cause of the difference is exactly the 
same, that of respiration through the mouth, during the 
hours of sleep. 

Under the less cruel, and apparently more tendei 
and affectionate, treatment of many Civilized mothers, 

with the loathsome and disgusting expressions \f hich the prodigal dissipa- 
tions of wealth often engender in Civilized Societies. Their tastes and 
their passions are less refined and less ardent, and more seldom exerted, 
and consequently less abused; they live on the simples of life, and im- 
agine and desire only in proportion ; the consequences of which are, that 
their faces exhibit slighter inroads upon Nature, and consequently a 
greater average of good looks, than an equal community of any Civilized 


their infants sleep in their arms, in their heated exhal- 
ation, or in cradles in overheated rooms, with theii 
faces covered, without the allowance of a breath of vital 
air ; where, as has been said, they from necessity gasp 
for breath until it becomes a habit of their infancy and 
childhood to sleep with their mouths wide open, which 
their tender mothers overlook, or are not cruel enough 
to correct ; little thinking of the sad aifliction which the 
croup, or later diseases, are to bring into their house. 

There is nothing more natural than a mother's near 
and fond embrace of her infant in her hours of sleep ;, 
and nothing more dangerous to its health, and even to 
its existence. The tender sympathies of love and in- 
stinct draw her arms closer around it, and her lips 
nearer, as she sinks into sleep and compels it to breathe 
the exhausted and poisoned air that she exhales from 
her own lungs ; little thinking how much she is doing 
to break her heart in future days. Nothing is sweeter 
or more harmless to a mother than to inhale the feeble 
breath of her innocent ; but she should be reminded 
that whilst she is drawing these delicious draughts, she 
may be returning for them pestilence and death. 

All mothers know the painful and even dangerous 
crisis which their infants pass in teething ; and how 
naturally do their bosoms yearn for the sufferings of 
these little creatures whose earthly careers are often 


stopped by that event. (3660 per annum in England 
alone, under one year of age, as has been shown.) 

Amongst the Savage Races, we have seen that death 
seldom, if ever, ensues from this cause ; and how easy 
it is to perceive that unnatural pains, and even death, 
may be caused by the habit of infants sleeping with 
their mouths strained open, and exposed td the cold 
air, when the germs of the teeth are first making their 

The Statistics of England show an annual return of 
* 25,000 infants, and children under five years of age, 
that die of convulsions.'' What causes so probable for 
those convulsions as teething and the croup ; and what 
more probable cause for the unnatural ^^m^ of teething 
and the croup, than the infernal habit which I am 

At this tender age, and under the kind treatment 
just mentioned, is thoughtlessly laid the foundation for 
the rich harvests which the dentists are reaping in 
most parts of the Civilized world. The infant pa^ es 
two-thirds of its time in sleep, with its mouth open, 
while the teeth are preseiiting themselves in their 
tender state, to be chilled and dried in the currents of 
air passing over them, instead of being nurtured by the 
warmth and saliva intended for their protection, when 
they project to unnatural and unequal lengths, or take 



different and unnatural directions, producing those dis- 
agreeable and unfortunate combinations, which are fre- 

quently seen in Civilized adult societies, and oftentimes 
sadly disfiguring the human face for life. 

While there are a great many persons in all Civilized 
societies who adhere to the designs of Nature in the 
habits above referred to, how great a proportion of the 
individuals of those societies carry on their faces the 
proofs of a different habit", brought from their child- 
hood, which their constitutions have so far successfully 
battled against, until (as has been said) it becomes like 
a second Nature, and a matter of necessity, even during 
their waking hours and the usual avocations of life, to 
breathe through the mouth, which is constantly open ; 
while the nasal ducts, being vacated, like vacated roads 



that grow up to grass and weeds, become the seat of 
Polypus and other diseases. 

In all of these instances there is a derangement and 
deformity of the teeth, and disfigurement of the mouth 
and the whole face, which are not natural ; carrying the 
proof of a long practice of the baneful habit, with its 
lasting consequences ; and producing that unfortunate 
and pitiable, and oftentimes disgusting expression, 
which none but Civilized communities can present. 

Even the Brute creations furnish nothing so abomin- 
able as these ; which justly demand our sympathy in- 
stead of our derision. The faces and the mouths of the 
Wolf, the Tiger, and even the Hyena and the Donkey, 
are agreeable, and even handsome, by the side of them. 

What physician will say that the inhalation of cold 


air to the lungs through such mouths as these, and 
over the putrid secretions and rotten teeth within, may 
not occasion disease of the lungs and death ? Infected 
distripts communicate disease — infection attaches to 
putrescence, and no other infected district can be so 
near to the lungs as an infected mouth. 

Most habits against Nature, if not arrested, run 
into disease. The habit which has thus far been treated 
as a habit, merely, with its evil consequences, will here 
be seen to be worthy of a name, and of being ranked 
amongst the specific diseases of mankind. Indulged 
and practised until the mouth is permanently distorted 
from its natural shape, and in the infectious state above 
named, acting the unnatural hand-maid to the lungs, it 
gains the locality and speciality of character which 
characterize diseases, and therefore would properly rank 
amongst them. No name seems as yet to have been 
applied to this malady, and no one apparently more ex- 
pressive at present suggests, than Malo inferno, which 
(though perhaps not exactly Classic) I would denomin- 
ate it, and define it to be strictly a human disease, 
confined chiefly to the Civilized Races of Man, an un- 
natural and pitiable disfigurement of the ' human face 
divine,' unknown to the Brutes, and unallowed by the 
Savage Races, caused by the careless permission of a 
habit contracted in infancy or childhood, and submitted 
to, humbly, through life, under the mistaken belief that 


it is by an unfortunate order of Nature — its Remedt/ 
(in neglect of the specifics to be proposed in the follow- 
ing pages) i\ie grave (generally) between infancy and the 
age of forty. 

The American Indians call the Civilized Races ' pdle- 
faces' and 'hlack-mouthSj' and to understand the full 
force of these expressions, it is necessary to live awhile 
amongst the Savage Races, and then to return to Civil- 
ized life. The Author has had ample opportunities of 
testing the justness of these expressions, and has been 
forcibly struck with the correctness of their application^ 
on returning from Savage to Civilized Society. A long 
familiarity with red faces and closed mouths affords a 
new view of our friends when we get back, and fully 
explains to us the horror which a savage has of a * pale- 
face,' and his disgust with the expression of open and 
Idack mouths,^ 

No man or woman with a handsome set of teeth 
keeps the mouth habitually open ; and every person 

* Of the party of li loway Indians, who visited London some years 
since, there was one whose name was Wash-ke-raon-ye (the fast dancer) ; 
he was a great droD, and somewhat of a critic; and had picked up enough 
of English to enable him to make a few simple sentences and to draw 
amusing comparisons. I asked him one day, how he liked the "White 
people, after the experience he had now had ; to which he replied — 'Well, 
A\'hite man— suppose — mouth shut, putty coot, mouth open, no coot — me 
no like um, not much.' This reply created a smile amongst the party, 
and the Chief informed me that one of the most striking peculiarities 
which all Indian Tribes discovered amongst the white people, was the 
derangement and absence of their teeth, and which they believed were 
destroyed by the number of lies that passed over them. 


with an unnatural derangement of the teeth is as sure 
seldom to have it shut. This is not because the 
derangement of the teeth has made the habit, but 
because the habit has caused the derangement of the 

If it were for the sake of the teeth alone, and man's 
personal appearance, the habit I am condemning would 
be one well worth strugghng against; but when we 
can so easily, and with so much certainty, discover its 
destructive effects upon the constitution and life of man, 
it becomes a subject of a different importance, and well 
worthy of being understood by every member of society, 
who themselves, and not physicians, are to arrest its 
deadly effects. 

The Brute, at its birth, rises on its feet, breathes 
the open air, and seeks and obtains its food at the next 
moment. The Chicken breaks its own shell and walks 
out on two legs, and without a gaze of wonder upon 
the world around, begins selecting and picking up its 
Dwn food ! 

Man, at his birth, is a more helpless animal, and 
his mental, as well as his physical, faculties requiring a 
much longer time to mature, are subject to greater 
dangers of misdirection from pernicious habits, which 
it should be the first object of parents to guard against. 

The Savage Tribes of America allow no obstacles 
to the progress of Nature in the development of their 


teeth and their lungs for the purposes of life, and con- 
sequently securing their exemption from many of the 
pangs and pains which the Civilized Races seem to be 
heirs to; who undoubtedly too often ot^^r-educate the 
intellect, while they wne/i^-educate the Man^ 

The human infant, like the infant brute, is able to 
breathe the natural air at its birth, both asleep and 
awake ; but that breathing should be done as Nature 
designed it, through the nostrils, instead of through 
the mouth. 

The Savage Mother, instead of embracing her in- 
fant in her sleeping hours, in the heated exhalation of her 
body, places it at her arm's length from her, and com- . 
pels it to breathe the fresh air, the coldness of which 
generally prompts it to shut the mouth, in default of 
which, she presses its lips together in the manner that 
has been stated, until she fixes the habit which is to 
last it through life ; and the contrast to this, which is 
too often practised by mothers in the Civilized world, in 
the mistaken belief that warmth is the essential thing 
for their darling babes, I believe to be the innocent 
foundation of the principal, and as yet unexplained, 
cause of the deadly diseases so frightfully swelling the 
Bills of Mortalitv in Civilized communities. 

All Savage infants amongst the various Native 
Tribes of America, are reared in cribs (or cradles) with 
the back lashed to a straight board ; and by the aid of 



a circular, concave cushion placed under the head, the 
head is bowed a little forward when they sleep, which 

prevents the mouth from falling open ; thus establish- 
ing the early habit of breathing through the nostrils. 
The results of this habit are, that Indian adults invari- 
ably walk erect and straight, have healthy spines, and 

sleep upon their backs, with their Robes wrapped 
around them, with the head supported by some rest, 
which inclines it a little forward ; or upon their faces, 



with the forehead resting on the arms, which are folded 
underneath it, in both of which cases there is a tendency 
to the closing of the mouth ; and their sleep is therefore 
always m^attended with the nightmare or snoring. 


Lying on the back is thought by many to be an 
unhealthy practice ; and a long habit of sleeping in a 
different position may even make it so ; but the general 
custom of the Savage Races, of sleeping in this position 
from infancy to old age, affords very conclusive proof, 
that if commenced in early life, it is the healthiest for a 
general posture that can be adopted. 

It is very evident that the back of the head should 
never be allowed, in sleep, to fall to a level with the 
spine ; but should be supported by a small pillow, to 
elevate it a little, without raising the shoulders or bend- 
ing the back, which should always be kept straight. 

The Savages with their pillows, like the birds in the 
building of their nests, make no improvements during 
the lapse of ages, and seem to care little if they are 



blocks of wood or of stone, provided they elevate* the 
head to the required position. 

With the Civilized Races, where everything is pro- 
gressive, and luxuries especially so, pillows have in- 
creased in longitudinal dimensions until they too often 
form a support for the shoulders as well as the head, 
thereby annulling the object for which they were 
originally intended, and for which, alone, they should 
be used. 

All animals lower the head in sleep ; and mankind, 
with a small support under it, inclining it a little for- 
ward, assume for it a similar position. 

This elderly and excellent Gentleman, from a long 

(and therefore necessary) habit, takes his nap after 



dinner, in the attitude which he is contented to believe 
is the most luxurious that can be devised ; whilst any- 
one can discover that he is very far from the actual 
enjoyment which he might feel, and the more agree- 
ableness of aspect which he might present to his sur- 
rounding friends, if his invention had carried him a 
little further, and suggested the introduction of a small 
cushion behind his head, advancing it a little forward, 
above the level of his spine. The gastric juices com- 
mence their work upon the fresh contents of a stomach, 
on the arrival of a good dinner, with a much slighter 
jar upon the digestive and neiTous systems, when the 
soothing and delectable compound is not shocked by 
the unwelcome inhalations of chilling atmosphere. 
And this tender and affectionate Mother, blessing 

herself and her flock of little ones with the plecmives 



of deep ! how much might she increase her own 
enjoyment with her pillow under her head, instead 
of having it under her shoulders ; and that of her little 
gasping innocents, if she ha'd placed them in cribs, and 
with pillows under their heads, from which they could 
not escape. 

The contrast between the expressions of these two 
groups will be striking to all ; and every mother may 
find a lesson in them worth her studying; either for 
improvements in her own Nursery, or for teaching those 
who may stand more in need of Nursery Reform than 

So far back as the starting-point in life, I believe 
man seldom looks for the causes of the pangs and pains 
which beset and torture him in advanced life ; but in 
which, far back as it may be, they may have had their 

Little does he think that his aching, deformed, and 
decaying teeth were tortured out of their natural ar 


rangement and health, in the days of their formation. 
by the cold draughts of air across them ; or that the 
consumption of his decaying lungs has been caused by 
the same habit ; and that habit was the result of the 
actual tenderness, but oversight, of his afifectionate 
Mother, when he slept in her arms, or in the cradle. 

The foregoing are general remarks which I have 
been enabled to make, from long and careful observa- 
tion ; and there are others, perhaps equally or more 
demonstrative of the danger of the habit alluded to, as 
well as of the power we have of averting it, and of 
arresting its baneful effects, even in middle age, or the 
latter part of man's life, which will be found in the re- 
lation of my own experience. 

At the age of 34 years (after devoting myself to 
the dry and tedious study of the Law for 3 years, and 
to the practice of it for 3 years more, and after that to 
the still more fatiguing and confining practice of minia- 
ture and portrait painting, for 8 years), I penetrated 
the vast wilderness with my canvas and brushes, for 
the purpose which has already been explained ; and in 
the prosecution of which design, I have devoted most 
of the subsequent part of my life. 

At that period 1 was exceedingly feeble, which I 
attributed to the sedentary habits of my occupation, 
but which many of my friends and my physician 
believed to be the result of disease of the lungs. I 


had, however, no apprehensions that damped in the 
least the ardour and confidence with which I enterea 
upon my new ambition, which I pursued with enthu- 
siasm and unalloyed satisfaction until my researches 
brought me into solitudes so remote that beds, and bed- 
chambers with fixed air, became matters of impossi- 
bility, and I was brought to the absolute necessity of 
sleeping in canoes or hammocks, or upon the banks of 
the rivers, between a couple of Buffalo skins, spread 
upon the grass, and breathing the chilly air of dewy and 
foggy nights, that was circulating around me. 

Then commenced a struggle of no ordinary kind, 
between the fixed determination I had made, to accom- 
plish my new ambition, and the daily and hourly pains 
I was suffering, and the discouraging weakness daily 
increasing on me, and threatening my ultimate defeat. 

I had been, like too many of the world, too tenderly 
caressed in my infancy and childhood, by the over- 
kindness of an affectionate Mother, without cruelty or 
thoughtfulness enough to compel me to close my mouth 
in my sleeping hours ; and who, through my boyhood, 
thinking that while 1 was asleep I was doing well 
enough, allowed me to grow up under that abominable 
custom of sleeping, much of the time, with the mouth 
wide open ; and which practice I thoughtlessly carried 
into manhood, with nightmare and snoring, and its 
other res\ilts ; and at last Tas I discovered just in time 


to save my life), to the banks of the Missouri, where 1 
was nightly drawing the deadly draughts of cold air, 
with all its poisonous malaria, through my mouth into 
ray lungs. 

Waking many times during the night, and finding 
myself in this painful condition, and sufiering during 
the succeeding day with pain and inflammation (and 
sometimes bleeding) of the lungs, 1 became fully con- 
vinced of the danger of the habit, and resolved to over- 
come it, which I eventually did, only by sternness of 
resolution and perseverance, determining through the 
day to keep my teeth and my lips firmly closed, except 
when it was necessary to open them ; and strengthening 
this determination, as a matter of life or deaths at the 
last moment of consciousness, while entering into 

Under this unyielding determination, and the evi» 
dent relief I began to feel from a partial correction of 
the habit, I was encouraged to continue in the un- 
relaxed application of my remedy, until I at length 
completely conquered an insidious enemy that was 
nightly attacking me in my helpless position, and 
evidently fast hurrying me to the grave. 

Convinced of the danger I had averted by my own 
perseverance, and gaining strength for the continuance 
of my daily fatigues, I renewed my determination to 
enjoy my natural respiration during my hours of sleep. 


which I afterwards did, without difficulty, in all lati- 
tudes, in the open air, during my subsequent years of 
exposure in the wilderness ; and have since done so to 
the present time of my life; when I find myself 
stronger, and freer from aches and pains, than I was 
from my boyliood to middle age, and in all respects 
enjoying better health than 1 did during that period. 

I mention these facts for the benefit of my fellow- 
beings, of whom there are tens (and hundreds) of thou- 
sands suffering from day to day from the ravages of 
this insidious enemy that preys upon their lungs in 
their unconscious moments, who know not the cause 
of their sufferings, and find not the physician who can 
cure them. 

rinding myself so evidently relieved from the pain- 
ful and alarming results of a habit which I recollected 
to have been brought from *my boyhood, I became 
forcibly struck with the custom I had often observed 
(and to which I have before alluded) of the Indian 
women pressing together the lips of their sleeping in- 
fants, for which I could not, at first, imagine the motive, 
but which was now suggested to me in a manner which 
I could not misunderstand ; and appealing to them for 
the object of so, apparently, cruel a mode, I was soon 
made to understand, both by their women, and their 
Medicine Men, that it was done ' to insure their good 
looks, and prolong their lives ;' and by looking into 


their communities, and contrasting their sanitary con- 
dition with the Bills of Mortality amongst the Civilized 
Races, I am ready to admit the justness of their reply ; 
and am fully convinced of the advantages those ignorant 
Races have over us in this respect, not from being 
ahead of us, but from being behind us, and consequently 
not so far departed from Nature's wise and provident 
regulations, as to lose the benefit of them. 

From the whole amount of observations I have made 
amongst the two classes of society, added to my own 
experience, as explained in the foregoing pages, 1 am 
compelled to believe, and feel authorized to assert, that 
a great proportion of the diseases prematurely fatal to 
human life, as well as mental and physical deformities, 
and destruction of the teeth, are caused by the abuse of 
the lungs, in the Mal-respiration of Sleep : and also, 
that the pernicious habit, though contracted in infancy 
or childhood, or manhood, may generally be corrected 
by a steady and determined perseverance, based upon a 
conviction of its baneful and fatal results. 

The great error is most frequently committed, and 
there is the proper place to correct or prevent it, at the 
starting-point — when the germs are tender, and taking 
their first impressions, which are to last them through 
life. It is then, too, that the fondest and tenderest 
sympathies belonging to the human breast are watching 
over them : and it is only necessary for those kind 



guardians to be made aware of the danger of thought- 
less habits which their over-indulgence may allow their 
offspripg to fall into. 

It is to Mothers, and truly not to physicians or 
medicines, that the world are to look, for the remedy 
of this evil ; and the physical improvements of man- 
kind, and the prolongation of human existence, effected 
by it. 

Children, I have said, are not born Hunch-hacks^ 
but a habit of sleeping thus, in the varying tempera- 

tures of the night, might make them such. Infants 

are not born Idiots or Lunatics, but a habit of sleeping 



thus, in sudden changes of weather, would tend to make 
them SO: and in the countries where infants sleep thus. 

the above deformities scarcely exist ; while in England, 
as has been shown, there are 20,000 of the first of 
these, and 35,000 of the latter. How significant and 
important the deductions from these simple facts — if 
they be facts — and who will contradict them ? 

If physicians and surgeons gain fame for occasion- 
ally conquering the enemy in combat ; what laurels, and 
what new title, should await the fair diplomatists who 
will keep the enemy out of the field — the affectionate 
Mothers, who, like the Indian woman^ will sit by their 
sleeping infants, and watch and guard them through 
their childhood, against the departure from one of Na- 
ture's most wise and important regulations, designed 
for their health and happiness. 

If the great majority of this sort of evil has its 
origin in that early period of life, its correction comes 
directly under the mother's province ; and there cer- 
tainly can be no better guarantee for the benefit of com- 
ing generations, than that mothers should be made fully 
sen&ible of the evil, and of their own power to avert it 


And TO Moihet's, I would, in the first place, say, for the 
sake of your infants unborn, and for your own lives' 
sake, draw the curtain (not of your bed, but of your 
lungs) when you retire to rest ; availing yourselves and 
your offspring of the full benefit of the peaceful and in- 
vigorating repose which Nature has prepared for you, to 
enable you to meet with success the events to .which 
you are approaching ; and when Nature has placed in 
your arms, for your kind care, the darling objects of 
your tenderest affections, not to forget that she has 
prepared and designed them to breathe the open air ; 
and that when they sleep in your embrace in heated 
rooms and feather-beds, they sleep in a double or treble 
heat, the thoughtless consequences of which will be 
likely to break your hearts in future life. Rest assured 
that the great secret of life is the breathing principle, for 
which Nature has rightly prepared the material, and the 
proper mode of using it ; and at the incipient stage of 
life where mothers are the physicians, is the easiest 
place to contract habits against Nature, or to correct 
them ; and that there is woman s post, her appropriate 
sphere ; where she takes to herself the sweetest pleasures 
of her existence, and draws the highest admiration of 
the world, whilst, like a guardian angel^ she is watch- 
ing over, and giving direction to, the Destinies of Man. 

To Children — to Boys and Girls, who have grown 


np to the age of discretion, and are able to read, the 
above information and advice are doubly important, be- 
cause you have long lives of enjoyment or misery before 
you; and which, you now being out of your mother's im- 
mediate care, are to be controlled by your own actions. 
And that you may not undervalue the advice which 1 
am about to advance directly to you, I may (as the 
clergyman repeats his text in his sermon, or a fond 
parent the important points of his advice to his son) 
repeat some things that I have said, while I am giving 
yoM further evidence of the importance of the subject I 
am now explaining to you. 

I advise you to bear in mind the awful Bills of 
Mortahty amongst Civilized societies, which I have 
quoted ; and realize the dangerous race which Civilized 
man runs in life — how very few live to the age designed 
by Nature — how many perish in infancy, long before 
they are of your age, and consequently the dangers 
which you have already passed; and contrast all of these 
with those of the Wild Indians, who, by Nature, are no 
stronger than we are, but who generally live to good 
old age, with comparatively few bodily pains in life, and 
their teeth almost uniformly regular and sound, with- 
out the aid of dentists and tooth-brushes. 

Have you observed by those Bills of Mortality, that 
you are but one out of two or three of your little com- 
panions who started and commenced playing along with 


y6\x, permitted to live to boyhood ; and also that yoii 
have but one chance in four, or thereabouts, of living 
to tolerable old age ? 

Can you read those lamentable estimates, which are 
matters of fact, and draw such fearful conclusions from 
them as to your own condition and prospects, without 
realizing the importance of the subject? and can you 
compare those disasters amongst the Civilized with 
those of the Savage Races, which I have explained, 
without believing there is some cause for all this, that 
is unnatural, and which may be, to a great degree, 
corrected, if we make the proper effort ? 

You have read in the foregoing pages, that man's 
life depends from one moment to another on the air 
which he breathes, and also that the atmosphere is no- 
where pure enough for the healthy use of the lungs 
until it has passed the purifying process which Nature 
has prepared in the nostrils, and which has been ex- 
plained. Air is an Elementary principle, created by the 
hand of God, who, as has been said, creates nothing but 
perfections ; and consequently is nowhere impure, ex- 
cept from the causes which I have already explained; 
and in the infinity of His wisdom and goodness, those 
accidental impurities were foreseen and provided for 
(even with the Brutes, as well as with Mankind), by the 
mysterious organizations through which the breath of 
life first came to man. 


The various occupations of men, and for which you 
are by this time preparing, subject them more or less 
CO the dangerous effects of the malaria and poisonous 
particles in the air, in proportion to the nature of their 
employments, and the districts and atmospheres in 
which they exist and work. 

The Mechanical trades are the most subject to these, 
from which the Farmer and the Gentleman are more 
exempt ; the .Carpenter, therefore, amidst the dust of 
his shop, should work with his mouth shut, and take 
care not to sleep upon his bench during his mid-day 
rest. The Cutlery-grinder should not work with his 
mouth open amidst the particles of steel which his feet 
raise from the floor, and the motion of his wheel keeps 
in circulation in the air. 

So with the Stone-cutter (and particularly those 
working in the hardest sort of stones and flint) the 
same precautions are necessary ; as by the extraordinary 
proportion of deaths reported amongst those classes of 
workmen, the poisonous effects of their business are 
clearly proved, as well as by the accumulated particles 
of steel and silex found imbedded in their lungs and 
coating the respiratory organs; and which, to have 
caused premature death, must have been inhaled through 
the mouth. Physicians are constantly informing the 
world, in their Reports, of the fatal results of these 
poisonous things inhaled into the lungs ; but why do 


they not say at the same time, that there are two modes 
of inhalation, by the nose and by the mouth ; and inform 
the Mechanics and labourers of the world who are thus 
risking their lives, that there is safety to life in one way, 
and great danger in the other ? If physicians forget to 
give you this ^advice, these suggestions, with your own 
discretion, may be of service to you. 

The Savages have the advantage of moving about 
and sleeping in the open air ; and Civilized Races have 
the advantages over the poor Indians, of comfortable 
houses and beds, and bed-rooms ; and also of the most 
skilful physicians, and surgeons, and dentists; and 
still we are struck with the deplorable results in our 
society, of some latent cause of diseases, which I believe 
has been too mucli overlooked and neglected. 

Have you not many times waked in the middle of 
the night, in great distress, with your mouths wide 
open, and so cold and dry that it took you a long time 
to moisten and shut them again? and did it occur to 
you at those moments that this was all the result of a . 
careless habit, by which you were drawing an unnatural 
draught of cold air in every breath, directly on the 
linigs, instead of drawing it through the nostrils, which 
Nature has made for that especial purpose, giving it 
warmth, and measuring its quantity, suitable to the 
demands of repose ? 

Watch your little Brothers and Sisters, or other 



little innocent playfellows, when asleep with their 
mouths strained open, and observe the painful expres- 

sions of their faces — their nervous agitation — ^the un- 
natural beating of their hearts — the twitching of their 
flesh, and the cords o'* their necks. and throats; and 
your own reason will tell you that they do not enjoy 
such sleep. And on the other hand, what pictures of 
innocence and enjoyment are those who are quietly 

sleeping with their mouths firmly shut, and their teeth 


closed, smiling as they are enjoying their natural repose ! 
If you will for a few moments shut your eyes, and let 
your under jaw fall down, as it sometimes does in your 
sleep, you will soon see how painful the over-draught of 
cold air on the lungs becomes, even in the day-time, 
when all your energies are in action to relieve you ; 
and you will instantly perceive the mischief that such 
a mode of breathing might do in the night, when every 
muscle and nerve in your body is relaxed and seeking 
repose, and the chill of the midnight air is increasing. 

It is, most undoubtedly, the above-named habit 
which produces confirmed snorers^ and also consumption 
of the lungs and many other diseases, as well as pre- 
mature decay of the teeth — the nightmare, &c., from 
which, it has been shown, the Savage Races are chiefly 
exempt; and (I firmly believe) from the fact that they 
always sleep with their mouths closed, and their teeth 
together, as I have before described. 

There are many of you who read, to whom this 
advice will not be necessary, while many others of your 
little companions will attract your sympathy when you 
see them asleep, with their mouths strained open, and 
their sensations anything but those of joy and rest. 
Their teeth are growing during those hours, and will 
grow of unequal lengths, and in unnatural directions, 
and oftentimes disabling them in after-life from shut- 
ting their mouths, even in their waking hours, and 



most lamentably disfiguring their faces for the remain- 
der of their days. 

It is then, my young Readers, for you to evade 
these evils, to save your own lives and your good looks, 
by your own efforts, which I beheve the most of you 
can do, without the aid of physicians or dentists, who 
are always the ready and bold antagonists of disease, 
but never called until the enemv has made the attack. 

I imagine you now just entering upon the stage of 
life, where you are to come under the gaze of the world, 
and to make those impressions, and form those con- 
nections in society, which are to attend you, and to 
benefit or to injure you, through life. You are just at 
that period of your existence when the proverb begins 
to apply, that * man's life is in his own hands ; ' and if 
this be not always true, it is quite true that much of 
his good looks, his daily enjoyments, and the control of 


his habits, are within the reach of his attainment. 
These are all advantages worth striving for, and if you 
sternly persevere for their accomplishment, you will 
perfectly verify in your own causes the other and truer 
adage, that 'at middle age, man is his own best phy- 

I recollect, and never shall forget while I live, that 
in my boyhood I fell in love with a charming little girl, 
merely because her pretty mouth was always shut ; her 
words, which were few, and always (I thought) so fitly 
spoken, seemed to issue from the centre of her cherry 
lips, whilst the corners of her mouth seemed (to me) 
to be honeyed together. No excitements could bring 
more than a sweet smile on her lips, which seemed to 
hold confident guard over the white and pretty treasures 
they enclosed, and which were permitted but occasion- 
ally to be seen peeping out. 

Of such a mouth it was easy to imagine, even "with- 
out seeing them, the beautiful embellishments that were 
within, as well as the sweet and innocent expression of 
its repose during the hours of sleep ; and from such 
impressions, I recollect, it was exceedingly difficult and 
painful to wean my boyish aflFections. 

To young people, who have the world before them 
to choose in, and to be chosen, next to the importance 
of life itself, and their future welfare, are the habits 
which are to disfigure and impair, or to beautify and 


protect that feature which, with man and with woman 
alike, is the most expressive and attractive of the 
face ; and at the same time, the most subject to the 
influence of pleasing, or disagreeable, or disgusting 

Good looks and other personal attractions are de* 
sirable, and licensed to all; and much more generally 
attainable than the world suppose, who take the various 
features and expressions which they see in the multi- 
tude, as the works of Nature's hand. 

The natural mouth of man is always an expressive 
and agreeable feature ; but the departures from it, 
which are caused by the predominance of diflerent pas- 
sions or tastes, or by the perfectly insipid and disgust- 
ing habit which has been explained, are anything but 
agreeable, and but little in harmony with the advance 
of his intellect. 

Open mouths during the night are sure to produce 
open mouths .during the day ; the teeth protrude, if 
the habit be commenced in infancy, so that the mouth 
can't be shut, the natural expression is lost, the voice is 
affected, polypus takes possession of the nose, the teeth 
decay, tainted breath ensues, and the lungs are de- 
stroyed. The whole features of the face are changed, 
the under jaw, unhinged, falls and retires, the cheeks 
are hollowed, and the cheek-bones and the upper jaw 
advance, and the brow and the upper eyelids ar^ un- 



Nature changed by habit. 

naturally lifted ; presenting at once, the leading fea- 
tures and expression of Idiocy. 

These are changes in the contour and expression of 
the face which any one can suflSciently illustrate, with 
a little effort, on his own face before a looking-glass ; 

and that these results are often fixed and permanently 
retained in society, every sane person is able to dis- 


cover ; and I believe most persons will agree with me, 
that they are the unfortunate results of the habit I am 

*A11 the world judge of men's dispositions and cha- 
racter by the expressions of their face; and how dis- 
astrous may it therefore be for men to indulge an 
expression of face in their sleep which they would be 
ashamed of in their waking hours ? The world is full 
of such, however, and such a man asleep, and a sleep- 
ing Idiot, are exactly the same. 

How appalling the thought, and dangerous the 
habit ! and what are likely to be the results shown in 
the fixed and lasting expressions of the face ? 

These remarks and these questions are intended for 
Boys and Young Men^ for I can scarcely allow myself 
to believe that Young Ladies would be caught sleeping 
thus ; but one word of advice, even to them, may not 
be amiss — Idiots asleep cannot be Angels awake. 

The natural mouths of mankind, like those of the 
brutes, have a general systematic form and expression ; 
but the various habits and accidents of life give them 
a vast variety of expressions ; and the greater portion 
of those deviations from Nature, are caused by the 
malformation of the teeth, or by the falUng of the 
under jaw, which alone, in its intended position, forms 
the natural mouth. When formed in this way, and 
unchanged by habit or accident, the mouth is always 



weli-shaped and agreeable ; but if the teeth become 
deranged in the manner I have described, the mouth 

becomes deformed ; and in endeavouring to hide that 
deformity, oftentimes more disagreeable and unnatural 
than when that deformity is exposed. 

I knew a young Lady many years ago, amiable and 
intelligent, and agreeable in everything excepting the 
unfortunate derangement and shapes of her teeth ; the 
front ones of which, in the upper jaw, protruding half 
an inch or more forward of the lower ones, and quite 
incapable of being covered by the lip, for which there 
was a constant effort ; the result of which was a most 
pitiable expression of the mouth, and consequently of 
the whole face, with continual embarrassment and un- 
happiness of the young Lady, and sympathy of her 
friends. With all the other charms requisite to have 


soothed and comforted the life of any man, she lived a 
life of comparative solitude ; and a few years since, after 
a lapse of 30 years, I met her again ; and though in 
her old age, she was handsome, — ^her teeth were all 
gone, and her lips, from the natural sweetness and 
serenity of her temper, seemed to have returned to their 
native and childish expression, as if making up for the 
unnatural and painful servitude they had undergone. 

The human mouth, with the great variety of duties 
it has to perform, is subject to a sufficient variety of 
expressions and distortions from abuse, independent of 
those arising from the habit I am condemning. 

The Ear, the Nose, and the Eyes, being less 
mutable, and less liable to change of character and 
shapes, seldom lose their natural expression; while 
original Nature, is as seldom seen remaining in the ex- 
pression of the adult mouth. 

This feature, from the variety of its powers and 
uses, as well as expressions, is undoubtedly the greatest 
mystery in the material organization of man. In infant 
Nature it is always innocent and sweet, and sometimes 
is even so in adult life. 

Its endless modulations of sound may produce the 
richest, the sweetest of music, or the most frightful and 
unpleasant sounds in the world. It converses; it curses 
and applauds ; it commends and reproves ; it slanders, 
it flatters, it prays and it profanes, it blasphemes and 



adores — blows hot and blows cold — speaks soft tones 
of love and affection, and rough notes of vengeance and 
hatred ; it bites, and it woos — ^it kisses, ejects saliva, 
eats cherries, roast beef, and chicken, and a thousand 
other things — drinks coffee, gin, and mint-juleps (and 
sometimes brandy), take pills, and rhubarb and mag- 
nesia — tells tales, and keeps secrets, is pretty, or is 
ugly, of all shapes, and of all sizes, with teeth white, 
teeth black, and teeth yellow, and with no teeth at all. 

During the day^ it is generally eating, drinking, 
singing, laughing, grinning, pouting, talking, smoking, 
scolding, whistling, chewing, or spitting, all of which 
have a tendency to keep it open ; and if allowed to be 
open during the nighi, is seen, as has been described, 
by its derangement of the teeth, to create thereby its 
own worst deformity. 

How strange is the fact, that of the three creations 
— the Brute, the Savage, and the Civilized Races — the 
stupid and irrational are taught to perfectly protect and 
preserve their teeth, through the natural term of life ; 
the ignorant, Savage Races of mankind, with judgment 
enough comparatively to do so ; when enlightened man, 
with the greatest amount of knowledge, of pride, and 
conceit in his good looks, lacks the power to save them 
from premature decay, and total destruction ! Show- 
ing, that in the enjoyment of his artificial comforts and 
pleasures, he destroys his teeth, his good looks, and 


often his life, in his thoughtless departure from natural 
simplicities and instinct. 

The Young Readers, whom I imagine myself now^ 
addressing, are old enough to read my advice, and to 
understand it, and consequently able to make, and to 
persevere in, their own determined resolutions, which 
will be sure to conquer in the end the habit alluded to, 
if it has already been allowed to grow upon them. 

I advise you to turn back and read again, unless 
you can distinctly recollect it, the perfect success that 
I met with in my own case, even at a far more ad- 
vanced age, and consequently the habit more difficult 
to correct ; and resolve at every moment of your waking 
hours (except when it is necessary to open them) to 
keep your lips and teeth firmly pressed together; and 
your teeth, at all events, under any and every emotion, 
of pain or of pleasure, of fear, of surprise, or admira- 
tion ; and from a continual habit of this sort, which 
will prepare you to meet more calmly and coolly the 
usual excitements of life, you will find it extending 
through your sleeping hours, if you will close your lips 
and your eyes in the fixed determination, and effectually 
correcting or preventing the disgusting and dangerous 
habit of sleeping with the mouth open. 

Not only manly beauty is produced, and manly 
firmness of character expressed, by a habitual compres- 
sion of the lips and teeth ; but courage, steadiness of" 


the nerves, coolness, and power, are the infallible re- 

Men who have been jostled about amongst the 
vicissitudes of a long life, amidst their fellow -men, will 
have observed that all nervousness commences in the 
mouth. Men who lack the courage to meet their fellow- 
men in physical combat, are afraid, not of their enemy, 
nor from a conviction of their own inferiority, but from 
the disat^ming nervousness of an open and tremulous 
mouth ; the vibrations of which reach and weaken them, 
to the ends of their fingers and their toes. In public 
debates — ^in the Forum or the Pulpit, a similar alarm 
results in their certain defeat; and before a hive of 
Bees, in the same want of confidence, the odour oi fear 
which they emit, is sure to gain them the sting. 

In one of the exciting scenes of my roaming Ufe, I 
recollect to have witnessed a strong illustration of the 
above remarks, while residing in one of the Sioux Vil- 
lages, on the banks of the upper Missouri. A serious 
quarrel having arisen between one of the Fur Com- 
pany's men and a Sioux Brave, a challenge was given 
by the Indian and accepted by the White Man, who 
were to meet upon the prairie, in a state of nudity, and 
unattended ; and decide the affair with their knives, 

A few minutes before this horrible combat was to 
have commenced, both parties being on the ground, and 
perfectly prepared, the Factor and myself succeeded in 



bringing them to a reconciliation, and finally to a shak- 
ing of hands; by which we had the satisfaction of 
•knowing, beyond a doubt, that we had been the means 
of saving the life of one of these men ; and a short time 
afterwards, while alone with the Indian, I asked him if 
he had not felt fears of his antagonist, who appeared 
much his superior in size and in strength ; to which he 
very promptly replied — ' No, not in the least ; I never 
fear harm from a man who can't shut his mouth, no 
matter how large or how strong he may be.' I was 
forcibly struck with this reply, as well as with the con- 
viction I had got in my own mind (and no doubt from 
the same symptoms) that the white man would have 
been killed, if they had fought. 

That there is an unnatural and lasting contour, as 
well as an expression of ugliness and lack of manly 
firmness of character, produced in the human face by 
the habit I have described, every discerning member of 
society is able easily to decide. 



Changed by habit. 



No one would hesitate a moment in deciding which 
of these he would have the most reason to fear in 
battle, or which to choose as his Advocate, for the pro*, 
tection of his life or his property. 

No young Lady would delay a moment, in saying 
which of these, in her estimation, is the best-looking 
young man ; or deciding (in her own mind) which of 
them she would prefer for her Suitor, provided she were 
to take either. 

No one would hesitate in deciding which of these 
horses to buy (provided the poor Brutes were victims 
to such misfortunes). 

And no one, most assuredly, so poor a Physiog- 
nomist as not to decide in a moment, which of these 
young Ladies was the most happy, and which would 
be likely to get married the first. And from these inno- 
cent and helpless startings in life, it is easy to perceive 
how man's best success, or first and worst misfortimes, 
are foreshadowed, and the fond mother, whilst she 





watches, in thoughtless happiness, over her sleeping 
idol, may read in that little open mouth the certain 
index to her future sorrows. 

It has already been said that man is an 'open- 
mouthed animal,' and also shown that he is only so by 
habit, and not by Nature ; and that the most striking 
difference which is found to exist between Mankind in 
Savage and Civil states, consists in that habit and its 
consequences, to be found in their relative sanitary con- 

The American Savage often smiles, but seldom 


laughs; and he meets most of the emotions of life, 
however sudden and exciting they may be, with Ms 
lips and his teeth closed. He is, nevertheless, garrulous 
and fond of anecdote and jocular fun in his own fire- 
side circles ; but feels and expresses his pleasure with- 
out the explosive action of his muscles, and gesticula- 
tion, which characterize the more cultivated Races of 
his fellow-men* 

Civilized people, who, from their educations, are 
more excitable, regard most exciting, amusing, or 
alarming scenes with the mouth open ; as in wonder, 
astonishment, pain, pleasure, listening, &c., and in 
laughing y draw pleasure in cmTents of air through their 
teeth, by which they insure (perhaps) pain for them- 
selves, in their sober moments, and for their teeth, dis- 
eases and decay w^hich no dentists can cure. 

The Savage, without the change of a muscle in his 
face, listens to the rumbling of the Earthquake, or the 
thunder's crash, with his hand over his mouth ; and if 
by the extreme of other excitements he is forced to 
laugh or to cry, his mouth is invariably hidden in the 
same manner. 

As an illustration of some of the above remarks, 
perhaps 'Punch and Judy' ^\i\o\\\^ generally as apt 
as any other exciting scene to unmask the juveniles, 
may with effect be alluded to for contrast of expression, 



as familiar in our streets, or as it would be viewed by 
an equal multitude of savage children. 


It is one of the misfortunes of Civilization, that it 
has too many amusing and exciting things for the 
mouth to say, and too many delicious things for it to 
taste, to allow of its being closed during the day ; the 
mouth, therefore, has too little reserve for the protection 
of its natural purity of expression ; and too much ex- 
posure for the protection of its garniture ; and (' good 
advice is never too late ') keep your mouth shut when 
you read, when you write, when you listen, when you 
are in pain, when you are walking, when you are run- 
ning, when you are riding, and, hy all means, when you 
are angry. There is no person in society but who will 
find, and acknowledge, improvement in health and 
enjoyment, from even a temporary attention to this 

Mankind, from the causes which have been named, 
are all, more or less, invalids, from infancy to the end 
of their lives ; and he who would make the most of , 
life under these necessary ills, secure his good looks. ^ J 
and prolong his existence, should take care that his 
lungs and his teeth, however much they may be from 
habit, or from necessity, abused during the day, should 
at least be treated with kindness during the night. 

The habit against which I am contending, when 
strongly contracted, I am fully aware, is a difficult one 
to correct; but when you think seriously of its im- 
portance, you will make your resolutions so strong, and 


keep them with such fixed and determined persever- 
ance, that you will be sure to succeed in the end. 

If you charge your minds during the day sufB* 
ciently strong, with any event which is to happen in 
the middle of the night, you are sure to wake at, or 
near, the time ; and if so, and your minds dwell, with 
sufficient attention, on the importance of this subject 
during the day, and you close your eyes and your teeth 
at the same time, carrying this determination into your 
sleep, there will be a strong monitor during your rest, 
that your mouth must be shut ; and the benefits you 
will feel during the following day, from even a partial 
success, will encourage you to persevere, until, at last, 
the grand and important object will be accomplished. 

One single suggestion more, Young Readers, and 
you will be ready to be your own physicians, your own 
protectors against the horrors of the nightmare, snor- 
ing, and the dangerous diseases above described. 

When you are in a theatre, you will observe that 
most persons in the pit, looking up to the gallery, will 
have their mouths wide open ; and those in the gallery, 
looking down into the pit, will be as sure to have their 
mouths shut. Then, when you lay your head upon 
your piPow, advance it a little forward, so as to imagine 
yourself looking from the gallery of a theatre into the 
pit, and you have all the secrets, with those before 
mentioned, for dispelling from you the most abominable 


and destructive habit that ever attached itself to the 
human Race. 

To Men and Women, of maturer age and experience, 
the same advice is tendered ; but with them the habit 
may be more difficult to correct ; but with all it is 
worth the trial, because there is no possibility of its 
doing any harm, and it costs nothing. 

For the greater portion of the thousands and tens 
of thousands of persons suffering with weakness of 
lungs, with bronchitis, asthma, indigestion, and other 
affections of the digestive and respiratory organs, there 
is a Panacea in this advice too valuable to be disre- 
garded, and (generally) a relief within their own reach, 
if they will av^il themselves of it. 

Approach. the bedsides of persons suffering under 
either of the above dangerous diseases, and they will be 
found to be sleeping with their mouths wide open, and 
working their lungs with an over-draught of air upon 
them, and subject to its midnight changes of tempera- 
ture as the fires go down ; and thus nightly renewing 
and advancing their diseases which their physicians are 
making their daily efforts in vain to cure. 

To such persons my strongest sympathy extends, 
for I have suffered in the same way ; and to them I 
gladly, and in full confidence of its beneficial results, 
recommend, the correction of the habit, in the way I 
have described ; their stern perseverance in which will 


soon afford them relief; and their first night of natural 
sleep will convince them of the importance of my 

Man's life (in a certain sense) may be said to ' be in 
his own hands/ his body is always closely invested by 
diseases and death. When awake, he is strong, and 
able to contend with and keep out his enemies ; but 
when he is asleep he is weak ; and if the front door of 
his house be then left open, thieves and robbers are sure 
to walk in. 

There is no harm in my repeating that Mothers, 
should be looked to as the first and principal correctors 
of this most destructive of human habits ; and for the 
cases which escape their infant cares, or which com- 
mence in more advanced stages of life, I have pointed 
out the way in which every one may be his or her 
physician ; and the united and simultaneous efforts of 
the Civilized World should also be exerted in the over- 
throw of a Monster so destructive to the good looks and 
life of man. Every physician should advise his patients, 
and every boarding school in existence, and fevery hos- 
pital, should have its surgeon or matron, and every 
regiment its officer, to make their nightly, and hourly, 
* rounds/ to force a stop to so unnatural, disgusting, 
and dangerous a habit. 

Under the working of such a system, mothers 
guarding and helping the helpless, schoolmasters their 


scholars, hospital surgeons their patients, generals their 
soldiers, and the rest of the world protecting them- 
selves, a few years would show the glorious results in 
the Bills of Mortality, and the next generation would 
l)e a Re-generation of the Human Race. 

The Reader will have discovered, that in the fore- 
going remarks (unlike the writer of a Play or a 
Romance, who follows a plan or a plot) I have aimed 
only at jotting down, with little arrangement, such facts 
as I have gained, and observations I have made, in a 
long and laborious life, on a subject which I have 
deemed of vast importance to the Human Race ; and 
which, from a sense of duty, 1 am now tendering to my 
fellow-beings, believing, that if sufficiently read and 
appreciated, thousands and tens of thousands of the 
Imman family may, by their own efforts, rescue their 
lives, and those of their children, from premature 

And in doing this, I take to myself, not only the 
satisfaction of having performed a positive duty, but the 
consolations, that what I have proposed can be tried by 
all classes of society ahke, the Rich and the Poor, with- 
out pain, without medicine, and without expense ; and 
also, that thousands of suffering wanderers in the 
wildernesses and malaria of foreign lands, as well as of 


those in the midst of the luxuries of their own comfort- 
able homes, will privately thank me in their own hearts, 
for hints they will have got from the foregoing pages. 

The Proverb, as old and unchangeable as their 
hills, amongst the North American Indians, ' My son, 
if you would be wise, open first your Eyes, your Ears 
next, and last of all, your Mouth, that your words may 
be words of wisdom, and give no advantage to thine 
advereary,' might be adopted with good eflFect in Civil- 
ized life ; and he who would strictly adhere to it, would 
be sure to reap its benefits in his waking hours ; and 
would soon find the habit running into his hours of 
rest, into which he would calmly enter ; dismissing the 
nervous anxieties of the day, as he firmly closed his 
teeth and his hps, only to be opened after his eyes and 
his ears, in the morning ; and the rest of such sleep 
would bear him dailt/ and hourly proof of its value. 

And if I were to endeavour to bequeath to pos- 
terity the most important Motto which human language 
can convey, it should be in three words — 

Shut — your — mouth. 

In the social transactions of life, this might have its 
beneficial results, as the most friendlv, cautionary 
advice, or be received as the grossest of insults ; but 
where I would pamt and engrave it, in every Nursery, 


and on every Bed-post in the Universe, its meaning 
could not be mistaken ; and if obeyed, its importance 
would soon be realized. 

/^Or, ^Ci^i^^ • 


Feok the observations, with their results, on board of a Mail Steamer, 
given in a former page, together with numerous others of a similar nature 
made whilst I have been in the midst of Yellow Fever and the Cholera in 
the West India Islands and South America ; I conscientiously advance 
my belief, that in any Town or City where either of those pestilences 
commences its ravages, if that portion of the inhabitants who are in the 
nightly habit of sleeping with their mouths open were to change their 
residence to the country,* the infection would soon terminate, for want of 
subjects to exist upon. 

This opinion may be startling to many ; and if it be combated, all the 
better; for in such case the important experiment Will more likely be 


Bio Grande, BraiU, 1860. 


Appendices are allowed in all books, and in a work 
like this, aiming to promote the good looks and the life 
of man, they will surely be acceptable to the reader who 
has looked through, and taken an interest in, the fore- 
going pages. The original design of this little work 
having been an issue in a brochure form, a portion of 
the orighial matter prepared was left out, to limit its 
intended dimensions : but the numerous editorial com- 
ments upon its importance to mankind, both in 
England, the United States, and on the Continent, have 
suggested a revised edition, which authorizes the addi- 
tion of the following matter. 

In the foregoing pages, the Indian's knowledge of 
the importance of establishing in infancy a habit of 
sleeping with the mouth shut, and the ignorance of it 
(or at all events the inattention to it) in civilized 
societies, and the deplorable consequences flowing from 
its neglect, have been emphatically treated and illus- 
trated, yet there are modes and causes of the abominable 




habit of sleeping with the mouth open., and its 
effects, important to be named. 

' H'doo-a, h'doo-a, w6n-cha-d6o-ats ' (straighten 
the bush and you will straighten the tree), is a proverb 
amongst the Indians, older than poetry or blank verse. 
' Just as the twig is bent, tiie tiee's inclined/ 
In the foregoing pages we have contemplated the 
Indian mother guarding her infant in its first sleep, and 
closing its lips to prevent it from contracting a danger- 
ous habit ; and I, who have seen some thousands of 
Indian women giving the breast to their infants, never 
saw an Indian mother withdrawing the nipple from the 
mouth of a young infant, without carefully closing its 
lips with her fingers ; and for what ? certainly not for 
her amusement or pleasure, but for the important object 
which they well understand, and which has been ex- 
plained. But in civilized societies, how often do we see 

the tender mother (if she gives it the breast at all) luU 
it to sleep at the breast, and steal the nipple from its 



open mouth, which she ventures not to close, for fear 
of waking it : and if consigned to the nurse, the same 
thing is done with the bottle. 

By these we see that the first thing that is tauffht to 
infants in the civilized world is to sleep with the mouth 
open ! and in the significant traits of this (otherw'ise) 

handsome young man, we see the lasting and pitiful re- 
sults of it. Fed and nurtured in kindness, and having 


escaped the dangers that beset him in infancy, he has 
grown up to nianhood ; and in his growth, the evil con- 
tracted in his infancy has grown and strengthened with 
his growth. 

Affectionate and doting mother, look at and 
observe the connection of the two, — see what fondness 
and kindness, without discretion, have done, — ^behold 
the twig that you bent and the tree that you have 

From a long and careless habit, the wires of his 
under jaw have lost their spring, — he sleeps with his 
mouth open during the night, and during the day he 
has not the power to keep it shut. By the hanging of 
his under jaw, a counter-effort arches his brows, im- 
pairing the characteristic compression of the eyes, and 
giving an aspect of indecision and insipidity to the 
whole face. The lips, always separated, with currents 
of alternate cold and heated air passing over them, 
become parched and feverish, of a cherry red, and 
swollen to an unnatural thickness, and a pestiferous 
breath is constantly exhaled from between them : and 
in eight cases of ten of these instances (for the world 
is full of them), if asked, ' What is the matter ? ' the 
reply would be that — */ stut-Ut-UtuUK utter !' and 
why not ? how can it be otherwise ? 

Stuttering may be defined to be an involuntary, 
nervous hesitation and vibration of the under law wi>or> 


suddenly called up from its habitual hanging position, 
t a perform its part in articulation. 

This singular and most unfortunate impediment in 
speech has been attributed to many causes, and some 
writers pretend to have traced it to physiological defects, 
making Nature to blame for it : but, like most of the 
diseases and deformities of mankind, it is undoubtedly 
the result of habit, and what habit so likely to produce 
it as the one condemned in this little book, of allowing 
the under jaw to fall, and to be carried in a hanging 
position, to be raised by a jerk (instead of being lower- 
ed) in the effort to speak. In most cases of the fallen 
jaw, stuttering and other impediments and inelegancies 
in speech are the consequences ; though, in some few 
cases, by a rigid practice, those defects have in a 
measure been overcome. 

With the handsome young man now under view, of 
20 years, turn back to the illustration on page 47, and 
see the aspect he presents at the age of 50 (if he is for- 
tunate enough to live so long). Stuttering need not be 
heard to be detected in this case, for it is readable in 
the Hues and expressions of the face. 

I have lived a long life and communed freely with 
the world, on various parts of the globe, and I never 
met (to my recollection) a stuttering old man, and 
rarely (if ever) an aged man or woman with an open 
mouth and a hanging jaw. Why this, when the ranks of 


youth and manhood are full of them ? The answer is, as 
has been given in former pages, that one-half of the 
human species who are allowed carelessly to contract 
the habit of sleeping with the mouth open, die in 
infancy and childhood, and the other half, their lungs 
unable longer to withstand the abuse, disappear from 
the stage of life before they pass from manhood into 
old age. 

These are melancholy (but existing) facts, in all 
civiUzed communities, and rendered more striking by 
the contrast we meet in all savage societies. 

During my travels* amongst the numerous tribes of 
Indians of North and South America, I never (to my 
knowledge) met or even could hear of, a stuttering 
Indian. Their lips and teeth are habitually, firmly 
closed ; their articulation prompt, and their words 
clearly spoken. 

Stuttering, unseemly and unfortunate as it is, is 
not one of the fatal results of the habit I am com- 
bating, though I have said that it is seldom, if ever, 
known to exist in old age — disappearing in manhood, 
with the life of its patient. It is the cause producing 
the stuttering, and not the stuttering, that causes pre- 
mature death. 

The diseases of a fatal character, resulting from the 
habit of sleeping with the mouth open, are of greater 
importance j and though they have already been 


noticed, there is one of the list too universal and too 
fatal to be passed over without some final and more 
impressive observations. 

The Nightmare. 

(The reader, to understand me on this subject, 
should turn back to the illustration on page 24, and 
keep it before him as he reads.) 

No person on earth who has waked from a fit of 
the nightmare will dispute the fact, that when con- 
sciousness came, he found his mouth and throat wide 
open, and parched with dryness and fever, and difficult 
to moisten. No man in existence ever had a fit of 
the nightmare whilst sleeping with his mouth closed. 
It is a fair inference, therefore, that sleeping with the 
mouth open is the cause of that frightful (and though 
not generally supposed) deadly disease. 

I say deadly, because every attack of the night- 
mare, I proclaim, is the beginning of death ! A man 
in a fit of the nightmare is dying. In the repose of 
his system, when respiration is necessarily feeble, the 
over-draught of air into the sleeping lungs, through 
the open mouth, surpasses the feeble exhalations, pro- 
ducing irritation and fever, until suffocation takes 
place, causing the malady in question ; and his sensa- 
tion of hindrance is caused by the hindrance to free 



His dreamy recollections of the seemingly begin- 
ning of a new and strange existence, appear to him to 
have passed over a long time, though the spasm lasted 
but a minute, or a minute and a half (as long as a 
man can live without breathing), and in most cases to 
have lasted a few minutes longer, death would have 
been the consequence. How awful to be so near to 
death, and so often ! He wakes suddenly, and con- 
vulsed, as if shaken : he feels as if snatched from the 
jaws of a monster that was devouring him — and what 
has saved his life ? Nothing but the instant rallying — 
the death-struggle of his abused and sleeping lungs 
raising him upon his heels and elbows, when he wakes 
with the tocsin ringing in his ears^ — ' Dying mortal ! 
moisten your lips and your throat, and shut your 
mouth, or death is at the door ! ' 

How many will recognize this picture, and yet 
how few will properly appreciate the danger they have 
passed ! 

It is a well-known fact that persons in the habit of 
sleeping with their mouths open are subject to con- 
tinual and frequent attacks of the nightmare ; and if 
each of these attacks is the beginning of death, certainly 
their repetition must be tending to an ending in death. 

Many constitutions are strong enough to bear these 
shocks for a long time ; but all men, and all women, 
subject to them in an aggravated form, exhibit sys- 


tems of nerves unstrung, and hold a lease of life which 
generally expires at a premature age. 

The cause or causes of this deadly disease have 
been emphatically explained in former pages; and 
sleeping with the mouth shut, or the grave, are its 
only cure. 

It is often said that nightmare is also caused by 
over-eating — there is no doubt of this fact — because a 
man who overloads his stomach, like a stuffed chicken, 
sleeps with his mouth open. And the most abomin- 
able, disgusting, and dangerous habit belonging to the 
human race, and combated in this little book, of 
sleeping with the mouth open, has but one certain and 
efficient remedy, which is in infancy, where civilized, 
like Indian-mothers must be the physicians. 

In advanced life, with the muscles unnaturally 
elongated by long and constant distention, the disloca- 
tion of the jaw is further from remedy, and the malady 
more difficult to cure ; but even then it is possible. 

Bandages may be applied, and the jaw may be 
strapped up during sleep; but these don't shut the 
mouth, nor will any mechanical application that ever 
can be invented, do it. Temporiary benefits and partial 
relief may be obtained in this way — ^yet I believe there 
is but one effectual remedy for the adult habit, which 
is, adult consciousness, and constant adult conviction, 
that premature death is close at hand for him whose 


mouth and lungs, during his sleep, are open receptacles 
for all the malaria (and changes of temperature) of the 
atmosphere that may beset and encompass him. 

I have lived long enough, and observed enough, to 
become fully convinced of the unnecessary and pi'ema- 
ture mortality in civilized communities, resulting from 
the pernicious habit above described ; and under the 
conviction that its most efficient remedy is in the 
cradle, if I had a million of dollars to give, to do the 
best charity I could with it, I would invest it in four 
millions of these little books, and bequeath them to the 
mothers of the poor, and the rich, of all countries. 

I would not get a monument or a statue, nor a 
medal ; but I would make sure of that which would 
be much better — self-credit for having bequeathed to 
posterity that which has a much greater value than